The mission of Sankofa Youth Development Program Inc. is to provide appropriate education, leadership and training in the way of reaching back and gathering the best of what our past has taught us and teach it to our youth so that they can achieve their full potential to serve and meet the needs of their community.
Within five years after the Civil War, the Black percentage of the prison population went from close to zero percent to 33 percent. Between 1980 and 2000, the number of people incarcerated in our nation’s prisons and jails soared from roughly 300,000 to more than 2 million. By the end of 2007, more than 7 million Americans-or one in every 31 adults-were behind bars, on probation, or on parole. More African Americans are under correctional control today-in prison or jail, on probation or parole-than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began. The old adage “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” I in each generation, new tactics have been used for achieving the same goals.
Then as now, the Black prison population performed an economic and political function for the benefit of Whites.
Well-meaning sociologists and criminologists would have us think that it is unemployment, lack of adequate education and job skills, broken homes, drug addiction, learning disabilities, lack of government commitment, Black male irresponsibility capitalism (that beloved psychopolitical straw man of White radicals and Black socialists), which are among the major causes of Black criminality and Black-on-Black violence. The White American community would have us think that increased police surveillance, apprehension and punishment, increased investment in police weaponry and manpower, increased prison construction, longer and harsher sentences, containment of the Black community, “just say no to drugs” “a war on drugs” “a war on poverty,” and the like, would curtail deterioration so prevalent in the African American community. Time and experience have amply demonstrated that such approaches are overworked, ineffective and bankrupt. Moreover, such approaches have not attacked the primary causal factor in Black criminality and violence-White supremacy.