This Week’s Under-reported News Summary Feb. 5, 2020

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Modi’s nationalism masks a bad economy, protesters say
  • Trump administration opens new immigrant prison in rural Michigan
  • Study finds racial disparities in state prison sentencing is declining

• Months after the landslide re-election of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, mass protests have swept the country. Modi’s brutal lockdown of citizens in the disputed northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as the passage of the anti-Muslim Citizenship Amendment Act have sparked outrage across India and the diaspora. Promises of economic growth have fallen short as Modi’s Hindu nationalist majority presses to dismantle India’s tradition of secular diversity.

(“Modi’s Nationalism Masks a Bad Economy, Protesters Say, Bloomberg, Jan. 25, 2020; “‘Modi Is Afraid’: Women Take Lead in India’s Citizenship Protests,” The Guardian, Jan. 20, 2020)

• Last May, the Trump administration awarded a 10-year contract to private prison industry giant GEO Group, to run an immigrant prison in rural Baldwin, Michigan. The North Lake facility is a Criminal Alien Requirement (CAR) prison, run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, to house non-citizens convicted of federal crimes.

(“The Trump Administration Just Opened a New Immigrant Prison in Rural Michigan,” In These Times, Jan. 16, 2020)

• New data from the Council on Criminal Justice found racial disparities in state prison sentencing between whites, blacks and Latinx groups has declined over the last 15 years.  Four years ago, the black-white ratio in state prisons was 5 to 1, compared to 8.3 to 1 in 2000. But Council President Adam Gelb is cautious about progress, noting “if we are serious about shrinking these gaps further, we have got to have a deep understanding of what lies behind these trends.”

(“Are Racial Gaps in US Justice System Inevitable? New Data Shows Progress.” Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 23, 2020)

This week’s News Summary was narrated by Anna Manzo.

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