Barack Obama on Tuesday called for the US judicial system make it fairer, denouncing the explosion of the number of incarcerations in the past decades and the gross inequalities before the law.
“There is a long history of inequality in the US judicial sytem (…) we can not close our eyes,” he began in a speech in Philadelphia before some 3,000 delegates of the NAACP, largest defense association of civil rights of black Americans.
Calling on Congress to act, the US president has long denounced the mass incarceration in past decades, due, in many cases, sentences “disproportionate to the offenses”.
“The United States has 5% of the world population but 25% of world prison population!”, He has insisted, citing an incarceration rate four times that of China.
“It has not always been the case: our prison population has doubled over the last two decades,” he said again, pointing out that the United States spent $ 80 billion a year to their prison system.
But the US president also reiterated emphatically that these masses of incarceration touched “disproportionately” blacks and Hispanics.
“The African-Americans are more likely to be arrested, they have more chances of higher beings condemned to sentences (than whites) for the same offenses,” he began.
“Our criminal justice system is not right and we need to develop it,” he continued.
Calling on elected the Congress to move quickly, he noted that voice growing rose – among Democrats and Republicans – to change the laws in force.
On Monday, he commuted 46 Americans to jail sentences, “men and women who were not hardened criminals” but have mostly been sentenced to at least 20 years of non-violent drug trafficking to prison.
Obama will visit on Thursday El Reno prison in Oklahoma, becoming the first sitting president to visit a federal prison.