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Obama Becomes First Sitting President to Go Inside a Federal Prison

President Barack Obama told the NAACP that he wanted to reform the American prison system. In an effort to become more knowledgeable of conditions, he entered the enclosed space reserved for the nation’s convicts. No other president has ever set foot in a federal prison.

President Barack Obama told the NAACP that he wanted to reform the American prison system (July 14). In an effort to become more knowledgeable of the conditions, he entered the enclosed space reserved for the nation’s convicts (July 16). No other sitting president has ever set foot in a federal prison.

“This is part of our effort to highlight both the challenges and the opportunities that we face with respect to the criminal justice system,” said Obama.

READ: President Obama Tweets The Perfect Response To Bill Clinton

The cells of Oklahoma’s El Reno Correctional Institution hardly compare to his Pennsylvania Avenue home. Walls imprison two to three men in each 9 by 10 cell - overcrowding, Obama pointed out.

He stepped into Cell 123 as he if was on the wrong end of a statistic - one of 2.2 million inmates and 1 in 35 African-American men in the entire country, a convict of a non-violent crime leading to $80 million, and part of a quarter of the world’s prison inhabitants.

A prisoner in America can be all these statistics while United States citizens only represent 5 percent of the world’s population. This prompted to Obama to continue the reform he spoke about on Tuesday. He is starting with federal prisons in hopes that state governments will follow by example. Obama said, “We want to make sure we are seeing what works and build off that,” and that he plans on listening to the concerns of prison employees for further aid on reform.

READ: Protesters Greet The President With Confederate Flags As He Arrives In Oklahoma

The President visited six inmates at El Reno, which called his attention to the number of young Americans facing jail time. Courts charged each of the six with drug-related crimes and handed down long sentences in the penitentiary. Obama described what stood out about these inmates’ stories:

“We think it’s normal that so many young people end up in the criminal justice system. It’s not normal. What is normal is teenagers doing stupid things. What is normal is young people making mistakes," he said. "And we’ve got to be able to distinguish dangerous individuals who need to be incapacitated and incarcerated versus young people who are in an environment in which they are adapting by if given different opportunities, a different vision of life, could be thriving the way we are.”

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Oscar Grant's Family Advocates To Have Fruitvale Station Named After Him

Nearly 10 years to the day of his passing, Oscar Grant III's family is aiming to build a tangible legacy in his honor. A request to rename Fruitvale Station in Oakland, Calif., the location where Grant was fatally shot by a police officer on Jan. 1, 2009, has been made. At 22, Grant was killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officer while he was handcuffed and face down on the train's platform. The officers were responding to a fight on a crowded train and apprehended Grant and other riders.

“It would be an atonement, it would be part of BART saying yes this happened here, we vow that it won’t happen again and we vow to work with the communities and ensure that all people are treated equally,” Wanda Johnson, Grant's mother, said.

According to KGO-TV, BART officials have declared the family's plea unlikely, not based upon the reason of the request, but rather that BART policy requires all stations' names to align with its geographical position. The Oakland transit system will instead install a mural honoring the late father. Currently, in the planning stages, the family also requested a side street at Fruitvale be named after their fallen family member.

Killed in the blink of an eye, Grant's case made him one of the many faces of police brutality. Cellphone cameras caught officers handcuff an unarmed Grant, who was later shot in the back. He died shortly after in a California hospital.

READ MORE: 'Fruitvale Station': Michael B. Jordan On the Many Layers of Oscar Grant 

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Study Shows Gun Violence Cuts African Americans Life Expectancy By Four Years Or More

Gun violence has seeped into the American culture sinking its claws into everyday life. With 53,492 shooting occurring in 2018, the result was more than 13,700 gun-related deaths, reported by the Gun Violence Archive.  A new study led by a professor at Boston University has found that the life expectancy of African-Americans has lowered by more than 4-years due to gun violence.

Based on federal data collected between 2000 and 2016, the research concluded black Americans died more frequently due to homicide among younger ages, although white American gun deaths are linked more so toward suicide amid older folks.

Published Dec. 4 in the BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine journal."Our study using cumulative data from 2000 to 2016 demonstrates a total firearm life expectancy loss of 905.2 days, which is nine times greater than observed in 2000, indicating increasing life expectancy loss by year," wrote Bindu Kalesan, the lead author of the investigation.

Furthering the discussion surrounding firearm injury, Kalesan inferred that gun-related injury causes American's to "lose substantial years." A common misconception surrounding shooting victims, only 30% of people struck by bullets die. However, the trauma endured is now linked to the shortened life expectancy.

One of the studies calculated in the 2000s, "concluded that shootings reduced the average American lifespan by about 100 days, with a significant gap between black and white men: Black men lost 361.5 days, while white men lost 150.7 days," wrote Nick Wing, a journalist at Huffington Post.

Two hundred and eleven days in difference, this study is a clear indication of the racial gap plaguing people-of-color in relation to the inherent violence suffered through life. Gun policy, a clear stain on the American fabric, has become a growing issue, claiming lives by the tens-of-thousands with no clear sign of slowing down. The research illustrates the growing issues within the black community, because not only are we being attacked from all sides, we engage in friendly fire.

READ MORE: Girl Who Penned Essay On Gun Violence Killed By Stray Bullet

 

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NYPD Officers Caught Strenuously Pulling One-Year-Old Out Of Mother's Arms

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has found itself in hot water after a video of officers using excessive force to remove a one-year-old from his mother's arms went viral.

Initiated by a verbal dispute with a security guard, a woman identified as Jazmine Headley was sitting on the floor with her son because there were no available seats in her local Brooklyn food stamp office. After being reprimanded by an employee in the benefits office for allegedly blocking the hallway, the cops were called on the 23-year-old.

Headley remained on the floor in the upright position until the officers began to pull at her baby, rushing to arrest and separate her from her child. Hands clasped tight around her child, the mother did her best to keep control of her son, until officers started pulling at the boy as if his limbs were made of rubber.

“They’re hurting my son," she repeatedly screamed while being attacked by four members of the force. Enraged bystanders witnessing the excessive encounter tossed comments about the happenings. After apprehending the baby, and securing Headley, one policeman reached for their yellow stun gun, threatening partons in the office according to The New York Times.

Headley is currently detained in Rikers Island, while the boy, Damone, remains in his grandmother's custody. As a source of advocation for the young mother, Cynthia Nixon, former Sex And The City actress and current day New York City politician, spoke out against the NYPD fiasco.

#JazmineHeadley should not have been arrested, should not have had her child torn from her, should not be sitting in Rikers now https://t.co/yyX0ZuxFhu

— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) December 10, 2018

READ MORE: NYPD Sergeant Acquitted Of Charges For The Death Of Deborah Danner

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