Election years are loud. From the shows we tune into during our morning routines to the Facebook feeds we scroll through before we doze off in bed, there seems to be an endless yammering of campaign talking points desperate to convince us to vote for one candidate over the other. These aren’t just any talking points though. These are election-year talking points — countlessly rewritten, rigorously tested on focus groups and heavily paid for. What tends to get left out during this political fermentation process is arguably the most important and, unsurprisingly, the most sobering: the historical context and the numbers.
The country that sees itself as the “leader of the free world” also has the word’s highest rate of imprisonment. Over the past few years, calls for reform in the criminal legal system and law enforcement have taken center stage in the public consciousness. Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been quick to incorporate these calls into promising talking points, often omitting the role Hillary and Bill Clinton played in creating some of the disastrous policies that fueled mass incarceration, which has had a particularly deep impact on Black Americans. Here is some important historical context and some sobering numbers you were supposed to miss, in a not so miss-able infographic.