Prison is Good for Black Men

Repost from the old site.
Oh, I know, I know, I know, you’re all mad about the headline. But don’t go away, not yet anyway.
Do allow me to explain.
Prison is not a great place. It’s not even a good place. It’s not even a fair or ok place. I’ve been in jail for six hours in my life, and my wimpy middle-class White-boy self is still traumatized. At least the memories kept me on the right side of the law. I do not ever want to go back there, not even for a minute. If only arrest had this effect on everyone…
But Blacks, I think especially Black men (I don’t think there are a lot of Black females in prison) seem to handle it ok. Don’t ask me how they do it. Maybe you learn some real life survival skills growing up in the hood.
Black men in prison have a much lower death rate, than those living outside. Inside, it is 206 per 100,000/yr and outside, it is 484 per 100,000/yr., a 57% drop.
This is a fact. A fact that won’t go away. That stares us in the face and demands to be recognized, parsed, anything but ignored.
The lower death rate in prisons is not so much a tribute to our obviously horrible prison system, which frequently denies the heavily-Black prison population access to basic medical treatment, among other things. More than that, this is a stark, punch in the face reminder of just how deadly life in the hood really is for the Black male.
There are a million ways to dissect this data, including some really nasty and racist ones. Google will direct you to those if you look hard enough, or you can just use your imagination.
Let’s look at some real reasons why a Black man statistically stands much better chance of surviving in prison than on the street. Prison health care, crappy as it is, is maybe still better than the zero health care many Blacks get outside of prison. And it’s hard to take a lot of drugs and drink a lot inside prison. You can do a bit of both, but not much.
Despite all the talk about prison violence, there is strict gun control inside prison. Guns are deadly for Black men outside of prison, where they are six times more likely to be felled by bullets than non-Blacks.
And maybe there is plenty of time and motivation to exercise, and perhaps the prison diet is not deliberately unhealthy. In addition, one is removed from many things that can kill you, like vehicles and machinery. Black males are especially likely to die in vehicle accidents compared to other races.
As long as Black men are living longer inside prison, and as long as so many are in there anyway, can we maybe make it a nicer place to stay for them? Maybe dorm-style rooms and more conjugal visits for promising, well-behaved prisoners?
If the disintegration of Black life in the hood continues at this pace, we may even reach the outrageous point at some point in the future where Black men may want to voluntarily check themselves into prison to live a longer and more healthy life.
Let us now imagine a future world where the hood was so bleak that Black males were volunteering for prison, if only for a chance to survive.
In this theoretical case, could we make it more pleasant for the voluntaries, if there were any? Could we design special prisons for them – the voluntary prisons? Check out any time you like, prisons? And how would we make it begin to pay for itself, or at least not be a money pit?
Dorm-style rooms, TV and movies, jobs for good wages, all the conjugal visits you want…I know this sounds like sick comedy, but these are human lives we are talking about here. How could we justify the costs? Life in the hood, with Black men sick, injured and dying young, are all costs to society. Healthy Black men in the voluntary prison, capable of working, living a more normal lifespan, may cost society less.
Even here, most Black males will choose freedom over chains. More than demonstrating the humanity of US prisons, this appalling statistic is one more metric showing the utter unlivability of the Black ghetto.
For White and Hispanic men, prison is a little more deadly than life on the outside, but not much.
Great discussion here , with talk of possible bias, reasons for the disparity, etc.
Interesting liberal take on this issue, from which I may quote and agree:

While prisoners’ rights and care are imperative, it is a disheartening paradox that being in jail decreases mortality.

But the reasons quoted in that paper are somewhat absurd – the reason why more Black men die on the outside? Racism? And there is less or no racism inside prison? Sometimes liberals, to paraphrase Gallagher, embarrass me.

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37 thoughts on “Prison is Good for Black Men”

  1. My understanding is that Black males are dominant in American prisons. Dominance would tend to increase life-span.
    Furthermore, if Blacks have higher expectations of incarceration- including unjust incarceration- then, perhaps, they suffer less tension and anxiety- again a possible killer.
    The other point about races with ‘thrifty genes’, digging their graves with their knives and forks- not to mention the havoc caused by drink and drugs- has to do with an American processed food industry geared towards ten ton, corn fed, milk guzzling, Wiscnonsin farm boys pinker than the pigs upon which they prodigiously dine.
    I am puzzled by your reference to yourself as ‘White’. Surely you are a red neck of some sort?

  2. Red necks are cool. There was a hilarious book by V.S. Naipaul called ‘a turn in the South’ where that ultimate Whiter than White Black guy tried to work his usual belittling, provincializing, formula on the red-necks. It didn’t work.
    English authors noticed this. Jonathan Raban- a real he-man explorer type, though also very posh- has written of his deep sense of comfort at being accepted by the descendants of Ulstermen and Welsh Presbyterians and so on who contribute to the red-neck gene pool.
    My guess is you take umbrage coz u r of soft Southern Planter stock- that too those descended from English Country gentlemen- like, I dunno, Al Gore?

    1. No, I can’t stand rednecks, though I have some relatives who came from Virginia. I’m a Californian. We hate Southerners, rednecks, all that crap. You know, beach, girls, surfing, all that.
      My father’s family was in California in 1900. My Mom’s family had roots in the Midwest. We are not connected with the South at all, though I had some ancestors who fought in the Civil War of course, some on the Southern side. I had some who owned slaves too.
      We are English, Welsh, Scottish, French and German. My Mom’s line came over on the second Mayflower boat. My father’s family came from Germany in 1740 to Maryland. However, we do go back to the First Families of Virginia, and that is indeed Southern Aristocratic stock. I’m also related to Pocohontas. I don’t relate to Scots-Irish rednecks at all. I hold them in contempt.
      I think I should read Naipaul. I have heard that he is a great writer.

      1. . I don’t relate to Scots-Irish rednecks at all. I hold them in contempt.
        You really ought to reconsider that, because when our society falls apart, most likely those Scotch-Irish rednecks will be the last white men standing. Either them, or the Mormons, whom I suspect you like even less.
        You might consider being friendlier to your best hope of survival. Unarmed, deracinated White liberals will not even defend themselves or their own wives and children, much less you.

    2. I’ve always had an image of the typical redneck as a rural phenomena. Can you find rednecks in the big city? I suppose there are lots of transplanted rednecks, think Midnight Cowboy or every other good-looking Adonis Bubba who flocks to Hollywood looking for a big break. Can a big city spawn rednecks? Do rednecks have to be white?
      There are lots of Mexicano dudes I see around here who are like rednecks. In mentality and gruff extroversion. Except they are brown, of course. But they wear boots and jeans and come across as “unsophisticated.”
      I don’t see Robert as a redneck at all based purely on my cyber impression. I’m suspecting a redneck would not be bothered to exert the mental acuity to formulate a Momentous Beginnings concept.

      1. Mexicanos cannot be rednecks. Period. (They wear the cowboy hats and boots for their own Mex-cowboy cultural reasons.) Nearest thing to a possible exception would be a Tejano (they are different- they are not Mexicans) or other third-fourth generation Hispanic-American who identifies as white/cowboy. Relatively rare.

    3. you people are retarted…this topic is about human life…does not matter if the person is black, white, hispanic, blue or red….Yes there are alot of black men in prison and there is also alot of whit men in prison….you hear more about one race than another because the dominat race does not want to accept the fact that they are just as dispicable….
      You people need to grow up!

    4. that is very cool, having blood from the top 3 european countries= Great Britain, France and Germany, i am not sure if Italy is on par enough to be the big 4 of europe; something as cool as that would be someone with chinese, korean and japanese blood at the same time o( ><)o ;someone close is the actor Takeshi Kaneshiro, in mexico they broadcasted once a chinese film ,"House of Flying Daggers" with spanish subtitles and i liked it a lot, and that actor is there, he is half japanese ( exactly okinawan, but they are put together with mainland japanese, like both english and scottish are considered british) and half chinese, so cool, he only lacked a korean side(≧▼≦;)

  3. Naipaul writes with great consistency. That by itself is remarkable. You won’t find him terribly intelligent, I’m afraid. He belongs to an older generation of English writers who sacrificed everything for clarity.
    This is a post on his latest book- http://socioproctology.blogspot.com/2010/11/evelyn-waugh-and-vs-naipaul.html
    You write extremely well. Is this because of your genes? No. I’ve had students from, I’d imagine, pretty similar backgrounds who certainly are very ‘bright’ and occupy very high positions- but they simply couldn’t write likie you if their lives depended on it.
    Perhaps, those ‘mirror nuerons’ they possessed in abundance were tactically employed in mimicing an obfuscating, deeply hypocritical, power elite language which disguises itself from Democracy by a mischevous valorization of ‘Race’ and ‘Nationality’ and ‘Gender’ and other such ‘strategic essentialist’ shite.

    1. I think it is because of my genes, actually! I’ve always been a writer. Feels very much like I was born that way. Of course I have worked at it extremely hard afterwards, but you know, I had to have that initial gift there from the start. If you don’t have the gift, I am not sure you will ever write really fine prose. You can write competently, sure. Great? Doubt it.
      I write stuff and people tell me it’s fantastic, but the truth is that I just banged it write out. I know other writers who agonize over their stuff endlessly and do endless drafts. I just bang away and it flows right on out just like that. Almost all my stuff is first drafts, just pounded right out bam. I think I’m just a natural at this one thing.

  4. In that case, the genetic component would probably be associated with a superior i-language- internal, intensional (i.e. you’d use words you can define for yourself- most people do the reverse, they use extensional definitions- i.e. mimic words used by others in different contexts without being sure what they themselves were trying to say) as well as being confomable to an ‘ideal’ language use template- the sort of stuff linguistics looks at.
    If guys like you get hooked on Indentity Politics, either coz that’s where the green stuff’s at or out or a narcissistic injury- you sure could fuck up a nation. You’re not doing that- so good on you mate.
    I take it you’re very good at language acquisition.
    I believe, for a priori reasons, that people like you might tend to neglect rhetoric and reflexive processes in language. This is actually a good thing, for a good literary style.
    I’d be interested if you could send me, separately, and on the basis of confidentiality, examples of your poetry or pure ‘word painting’.
    Such stuff aint interesting when authored by people who want to lie to themselves- parrhesia (like in the Bible, not like in Foucault!) is pretty much the best thing we can do for each other- other than swop recipies for real good idli/ sambar.
    BTW- on the basis that you wear glasses, you are clearly a Tamil like me except you guys ended up in California when Atlantis exploded.

  5. “Check out any time you like, prisons? And how would we make it begin to pay for itself, or at least not be a money pit?”
    This has been my opinion for a while — create a combination community college, military without guns, prison without walls where (primarily) 16-25yo black men would do community service while getting vocational training and completing their education. In the morning, they’d walk kids to school past the drug dealers, then repair slum housing, go to classes, have healthy recreation in the afternoon and study at night.

  6. Dear Robert
    Comparing the mortality of black men inside and outside of prison is dubious because the prison inmates are on average younger, even if we limit the comparison to the 15 – 64 age bracket. We should always compare age-specific mortality, for instance, the mortality of 25-year-olds. The largest age bracket we should use in such comparisons is 5 years. An age bracket of 50 years is just too large.
    The Japanese have a higher death rate than the Bangladeshis. Why is that? Because the median age in Japan is much higher, not because the Bangladeshis have higher life expectancy. Mortality is age-sensitive, therefore we should only make age-specific comparisons.
    Regards. James

    1. This argument makes no sense, James. White and Hispanic prisoners have death rates slightly above those of Whites and Hispanics on the outside. Obviously, White and Hispanic inmates also must be quite a bit younger than their counterparts on the outside. Therefore, the Black prisoners have a lower death rate argument is suspect because the other groups are also younger.

  7. No but strict Parochial schools are a good place for black children to learn discipline. Instead of trying to “reform” public education, Reformers should donate to Parochial scholarship funds, so all the little Black inner citty kids can go to Parochial schools.

  8. I don’t know what to say, where to start.
    The concept of voluntary prisons would never occur to me in a million years for blacks or anyone else. Is this what non-blacks think about when they happen to think about blacks and solutions to problems in the black community?
    And what of their children and wives? Should they be without their father and husbands or should they volunteer for prison as well?
    You did mention ” jobs for good wages”. Can we just start with this and see what happens?

    1. I can’t help but suspect that Robert is being a tad Swiftian here.
      In the spirit of Momentous Beginnings:
      It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin doors, crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags and importuning every passenger for an alms.

  9. This is truly an evil website. Melaninated peoples are taking back planetary rule from this 6,000 year experiment and all those infected with the dis-eased mind of white supremacy will be wiped from the face of Earth(Asia) soon. So perish in your rage devils.

  10. Dear Robert
    Suppose that in country A, 5% of the males serve in the army, in country B, 15%, and in country C, 50%. Now we compare military men with civilian men in all 3 countries. Are we making the same comparisons? No. In country A we are comparing 5% with 95%, in B, 15% wth 85%, and in C, 50% with 50%.
    In the US, maybe 1/3 of black men go to jail at some point in their lives, for Hispanics it may be 1/10, and for whites 1/20. This means that comparisons betweens inmates and non-inmates yield different results for the 3 populations. Since a much higher percentage of black men go to jail than is the case with whites and Hispanics, we are really making 3 different comparisons. Black inmates are more representative of the black male population at large, therefore age should be a more important factor than for whites or Hispanics.
    Regards. James

    1. I’m not completely clear.
      Take the case of a 25-year old man, one incarcerated, the other not. Actually, let’s broaden it. Three 25-year old black men.
      #1) incarcerated
      #2) living well below the poverty line in the inner city
      #3) middle class, educated and employed
      My guess, is that the ranking for life expectancy, in descending order, would be 3-1-2. Obviously, for the study to be relevant, all the test subjects would need to 25 years of age, or 24, or 18…as long as they are all the same age.
      Considering “death rate” as the primary measure, wouldn’t this skew the numbers toward prisoners since they are generally much younger than the “free” population?

  11. i don’t write any where near as good as you guys but i do know what has f$$ked up black people.the national socialist democratic welfare plantation is what has destroyed the black family ,not racism or poverty.illegitimacy is close to 80% which means no fathers they are all in jail or on parole.if you look at the prison population of black,white mexican or polka dot they all have one thing in common and that is welfare.this and the victim narrative which claims that all their problems are caused by the man instead of poor life choices that they made.i believe that the only way to end this mess is to end welfare and affirmative action.

    1. Hey Bruce. This is a progressive and socialist blog. You’re not allowed to do stuff like say “national socialist democratic welfare plantation.” You’re not allowed to call for getting rid of welfare or other social programs. Doing so will result in a ban.

  12. Wow. Statistics can be awefully inconvenient. I love the way liberal social engineers love to quote statistics for their soul destroying public programs, but feel free to ignore them when they contradict liberal cant. We go from statistics to “everybody knows” mighty quick, when in fact everybody DOESN’T know….
    Having said that, it might be more constructive to suggest that society has not dealt well with black cultural issues rather than say prison is good for black men.

    1. Dan, you are not allowed to promote rightwing ideology on here like you just did. You can’t condemn “liberal social engineering” and soul destroying public programs.” That will result in a ban. This is a progressive and socialist website.

  13. 1. I’m white
    2. you are a poop. It’s not you can poop.
    3. now your an under pant with poop all over and you stink.
    4. your mean and you have n life cause you write these articles in the first place and by the way you to 2nd commenter cause your reading this. I only read it for an assignment
    5. You adults are arguing with a child sooooo…. you have no life!

    1. If you are White, then why are you illiterate. If you’re illiterate, you’re barely even White. You’re practically a non-White. Illiteracy is for the non-Whites, or at least it ought to be. Well. In theory anyway! PS fool, you are banned.

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