Dr. Treadwell is Director and Senior Social Scientist for Community Voices of Morehouse School of Medicine and Research Professor in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine. Her major responsibilities include program oversight and management for Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved, a special informing policy initiative that is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Dr. Treadwell is the co-editor of “Health Issues in the Black Community (2009)” and is Section Editor-Social Determinants in the Journal of Men’s Health. Dr. Treadwell was appointed to the Georgia State Board of Corrections by Governor Sonny Perdue and selected to serve on the Advisory Committee for the Georgia Justice Project.
Martin Luther King, Jr., the drum major for justice, might have some difficulty today raising an army of soldiers for justice! The time for marching is not over as civil rights struggles continue. Witness the pandemic levels of mass incarceration. In many cities the young men, the men who used to march in an earlier era, are gone away to years behind the fence of jail or prison.
In the mind’s eye, in the press, in the common vernacular, the African American man is not a responsible parent as there are so many single women raising the children alone, in poverty. Often children are raising their siblings while the mother works, but we rarely think or speak of them. To understand how we came to this place it is necessary to take a trip back to the future.
Prison stays have become all too common in the African American community. Today, the length of the sentence has increased, as has the distance from prisoners’ homes, disrupting the lives of incarcerated families.
The impact of the mass incarceration of African American men in the U.S. for largely the same group of drug-related crimes are monstrous and devastating on all of society. In the United States, African Americans, who are 12% of the population, are 44+ percent of the prison population.