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News in Brief: More Black Men Now in Prison System Than Were Enslaved in 1850, and More

More Black Men Now in Prison System Than Were Enslaved in 1850

More Black Men Now in Prison System Than Were Enslaved in 1850

More African-American men are either in prison or on probation or parole than were enslaved before the start of the Civil War, LA Progressive writes. Michelle Alexander, a law professor at Ohio Sate University who wrote a book on the topic, said that increasing numbers of black and Hispanic men caught in America's prison system does not reflect the country's decreasing rate of crime. The main reason for the skyrocketing incarceration rate, Alexander said, is “due to the War on Drugs, a war waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color,” despite studies that show that whites use and sell illegal drugs at rates equal to or above blacks. Black men released from prison on drug charges will often have trouble obtaining housing, jobs and educational opportunities due to their records. The prison-industrial complex also poses difficult challenges to the reformation of America's justice system, as incarceration becomes a privatized industry with millions of employees.

Bahraini Blogger Dies While in Detention

Bahraini blogger Zakariya Rashid Hassan al-Ashiri died Saturday while in government custody, Read Write Web reports. Al-Ashiri, who wrote for a news web site in his home village of al-Dair, was arrested on April 2 “on charges of inciting hatred against the regime and the promotion of sectarian.” After al-Ashiri's death, Bahraini authorities stated that he had succumbed to sickle-cell anemia, a claim which his family denied. The AhlulBayt News Agency released a series of photos of al-Ashiri after his death indicating that he had been fatally beaten.

KBR Voted One of the “Top Companies” for Women Despite Failing Sexual Assault Awareness Standards

According to Mother Jones, readers of Woman Engineer Magazine named KBR one of the top 50 companies for women “for which they would most prefer to work or believe are progressive in hiring woman engineers.” KBR is a military subcontractor currently working primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan; the company was made infamous when one of its female employees accused her male colleagues of a brutal assault and gang rape, leading to the passage of a Senate bill to expand protections for contractor employees. KBR has also been known to ignore allegations that its workers participated in human trafficking, running prostitution rings and intimidating potential whistleblowers.

Ivory Coast Strongman Gbagbo Will Face Charges

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said strongman Laurent Gbagbo will face charges on both a “national level and an international level” after a violent four-month standoff that killed and displaced untold numbers of the country's citizens, the Associated Press reports. Gbagbo refused to give up his presidency to Ouattara, who won the Ivory Coast's November election, leading the country to the brink of civil war and provoking an intervention by French and UN forces. “Reconciliation cannot happen without justice,” Ouattara said.

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