Ta-Nehisi Coates Says Road to Prison Reform Will Not Be Easy in the US

Ta-Nehisi Coates Says Road to Prison Reform Will Not Be Easy in the US

The author spoke on his Atlantic magazine piece "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration."

Published September 22, 2015

Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates recently penned an essay for The Atlantic in which he breaks down the effect America's high incarceration rates has had on the Black family.

In the piece, he revisits a report by the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan called “The Negro Family,” written 50 years ago. During an interview Monday on All In With Chris Hayes, Coates discussed reviewing Moynihan's report with fresh eyes. 

"If you listen to the speech that Lyndon Johnson gave that was inspired by the Moynihan report, he literally says that even as he talks about family breakdown, that blame must be laid at the feet of white society, a statement that no sitting president would make today," said Coates.

The author added that "one of the regrettable decisions that Moynihan made was leaving out solutions and the result was it left it open for folks who wanted to just lament the problem but felt that government should do nothing about it."

Coates also re-iterated that imprisonment continues to scar African-Americans' quality of life during and after they are let go.

“We have all sorts of data within the story showing that African-Americans, even after they leave prison, continue to be treated in a sort of second-class way, that imprisonment is a badge, that you would behave a certain way in reaction to that is not shocking at all.”

Furthermore, Hayes and Coates said the current political climate shows we have many mountains to climb before we can see progress on the issue of prison reform. 

"When you see that, when you see people like Ted Cruz, when you see Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, running a campaign against Black Lives Matter, when you see Donald Trump, you see people standing up, talking about a war on cops, anybody who thinks progress in the era of prison reform is a done deal really should be humbled by that."

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(Photo: MSNBC)

Written by Natelege Whaley

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