Tag Archives: slavery

The Effects of Human Trafficking

The Effects of Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is the possession of humans or their exchange for the purpose of engaging them in slavery and prostitution through the means of force and coercion. It is a thriving industry that continues to grow every year. It is feared, that human trafficking may soon outdo the illegal drug trade. Every day there are thousands of people falling victims to advertisements coaxing them with the promise of a better future. In several countries like India, the victims may have been abducted, deceived or even bought from their family members. They are vulnerable due to the lack of education, poor financial standing and absolute immaturity. Human trafficking affects at least 7 million lives each year, worldwide. Did you know? The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates that United States receives an estimated 50,000 people, annually, who are victims of human trafficking. From the view of the economy, health, psychology and the society, the effects of human trafficking are scary even in the long term, the traffickers are the only party that gains from this inhuman ordeal, raking up to $10 billion! Statistics published by the United Nations reveal that as of 2006, only 5,808 traffickers were prosecuted and 3,160 were convicted in the United States.

Psychological Effect

Most traffickers recruit their victims between the ages of 6 to 24, because a young victim will easily succumb to force and give in. They are forced into heavy physical labor in hazardous environment. Many are also taught the use of weapons and are recruited as ‘soldiers’ in armed conflicts. According to statistics by the U.S Department of State, globally 2 million children are trafficked into the sex trade each year. The children suffer from lack of self-esteem, emotional disturbance, disorientation and depression and are scarred for life. They develop deep psychological disorders that they struggle with the rest of their lives even if they have been rescued. Psychological vulnerability hinders them from having a healthy state of mind in the future. The children are likely to become withdrawn and tend be suicidal. Any children born to the victims of prostitution are taken away at the time of birth causing further mental agony to the mothers. In fact, the longer the victims have been enslaved, greater will be their traumatic experience.

Health Effects

‘Human Trafficking, Human Misery’, a book written by Alexis Aronowitz, states that an estimated 80% victims of human trafficking are sexually exploited, abused or forced into prostitution as most victims are young women and children. Such a victim probably might have to cater to anywhere between 8 to 15 clients in a day. The use of sexual protection is negligible in this industry, leaving the exploited at a high risk of contracting various sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS that they further pass on to the men and their partners. In some cases, victims of human trafficking are also subjected to substance abuse by being forced to take drugs. Such individuals also have to constantly battle with drug addiction. Improper supply of meals and the lack of nutritious food causes malnourishment in these entrapped victims. Poor living conditions also contribute to the development of various diseases that these victims suffer in later years. The victims are not given any medical aid to cure these ailments. Those recruited in chemical factories are treated like modern-day slaves and often succumb to occupational diseases and are quickly replaced by another lot of victims.

Societal Effects

Human trafficking victims may be used as bonded labor in their own country or transported to another country whereupon arrival, their passports and migration documents are taken away from them, leaving them helpless and immobile. Sadly, they are often charged as collaborators of the crimes rather than being seen as victims. They are kept in very poor conditions with sub-standard clothing and food, unhygienic living conditions and no provision for healthcare. They are also often physically and sexually abused by their employers and ‘clients’ for non-compliance with demands. This is a very gruesome picture of the face of our society, hiding behind a wall. Another point to be noted here is that, the victims are deprived of education and all human rights. The victims always struggle to gain acceptance in society from the stigma after being rescued. Human trafficking often intermingles with other crimes such as smuggling of drugs and ammunition. Corruption is so widespread in our world that the greed for wealth only helps social evils like human trafficking from flourishing with no stops. In such a scenario, the development of a stable and robust society seems like a distant dream.

Economic Effects

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), human trafficking generates $31.6 billion estimated illicit profit worldwide! As calculated by the CIA, a trafficker earns up to $250,000 per victim of the sex trade in a year. Of this sum, the victim is paid a trivial amount or nothing at all on the pretext of clearing up debts and paying for expenses such as food, clothing and lodging. While, the victims of slavery are also paid very meager wages for strenuous physical labor which prevents them from fleeing. Availability of such cheap labor hinders employment opportunities and subsequently, reduces per capita income of the nation. The financial repercussions of human trafficking cannot be overlooked. In fact, the network of traffickers has gained immense financial strength which allows such illegal activities to thrive without the fear of law. Illegal immigration is also a threat to the national security and a cause of concern for governments worldwide. It gives rise to other ills such as terrorism, poverty, poor standard of living, unemployment, expanding population, wastage of resources, high crime rates and lack of enforcement of law and order in the country. These factors slow down economic growth of the nation.

Often the victims of human trafficking are subjugated by the burden of debts and pressured into forced labor. Debt bondage is a criminal offense in the United States and yet everyday people are being enslaved. The wealth gains from human trafficking are redirected to legal activities by investing in businesses or funding public affairs in order to launder that money. Along with forced cheap labor, this creates unnecessary competition for genuine businesses. But, above all, the loss of valuable human resources is the most regrettable. It is an undue waste of productivity and development. In fact, it is a disgrace to humanity. This article highlights the effects of this social evil but there are still facts about human trafficking that are unknown to many.

SOURCE

Reparations by another name is still Reparations: The Pigford Case

Pigford Case Causes Severe Blindness In Mainstream Media

In 1997’s Pigford vs. Glickman case, approximately 400 African (hyphen) American farmers sued the US Department of Agriculture claiming racial discrimination from 1983-1997. When the case was settled an estimated 2,000-3,000 claims were expected to be filed with awards reaching $50,000 each. Today, nearly 92,000 black ‘farmers’ are claiming ‘Pigford’ reparations — 5 times the number of blacks who were operating farms at the time.

And with yesterday’s announcement of ‘Pigford 3‘ and ‘Pigford 4‘ under way [Obama’s streamlined process that makes women and Hispanics who ‘attempted-to-farm‘ or ‘attempted-to-own land’ eligible for $50,000 each], we can count on mainstream media sticking their heads in the sand for this storm:

(Verum Serum) This should be a case about public corruption, one that involves the President since he recently signed off on more money for this settlement. There are three reasons it’s not on the front page of the NY Times.

Reason 1: There were some real victims here, black victims. That’s shameful. No one likes to linger on their shame, especially not the government. And that goes for media outlets who, by and large, are on the current administration’s side.

Reason 2: If this was investigated it would undoubtedly uncover hundreds of people who took advantage of the system, all of them black. No one at the Times or the Post wants to portray blacks as victimizers of the public trust. Exposing something like this as reality would be a blow to the liberal narrative about government handouts and minorities. The Times won’t lend credence to what they see as a negative stereotype, i.e. “welfare queens.

Reason 3: And this may be the biggest one of all. Andrew Breitbart broke the story. The liberal media is emotionally invested in Breitbart’s failure. You could see that in the grudging way they covered the ACORN story. You could see it in the gleeful way they covered the Shirley Sherrod story. They refuse to give him a win, especially one which would rehabilitate his image and make him more powerful going into 2012. They hate him. It’s obviously a factor in this situation.

Sure, liberal mainstream media has Breitbart and a whole host of other ‘patriots’ in their crosshairs, but there are endless reasons for their convenient lack of coverage regarding Pigford and ACORN; not to mention, the recent Planned Parenthood underage sex rings. With that in mind, I’d like to add Reason #4: Government-Run media hiding truth for the sake of rewriting history — aka Ingsoc. Back to the article…

There are only three courses left to the MSM:

One, pretend it isn’t happening or, at best, frame the complaints as the product of far right troublemakers with no facts offered to back them up. That’s going to be increasingly difficult in light of this video tape [last clip below], but it wouldn’t be the first time Times readers have gone without the facts.

Two,
write a massive article full of pathos for the real victims and minimize or sidestep the fraud issue. In other words, let it be known that the Grey Lady has decided the good outweighs the bad so it’s okay to turn a blind eye on this one.

Three, investigate and let the chips fall where they may. Of all the options, this is the least likely.

A short video clips on Pigford reparations:

To continue down this rabbit hole, perform a couple of internet searches on ‘Shorebank‘ and ‘Shirley Sherrod‘.

Obama pushes $2.15 billion black farmer reparations: HEREand HERE

Pigford 3 and Pigford 4: HERE.

Pigford explanation: HERE.

The Pigford case: HERE.

Black Panthers; ‘misunderstood’ victims: HERE.

Obama marks abortion anniversary — Happy Birthday Genocide!: HERE.

h/t: Jim M and Doug Ross

SOURCE

House Approves Funding for Pigford II Settlement

On Tuesday, November 30, the House of Representatives passed the Claims Resolution Act of 2010, which authorizes nearly $4.6 billion to fund the settlements in two class-action discrimination lawsuits. The measure passed 256-152. It now goes to the President for his signature, ending a long, tortuous, but ultimately successful path to becoming law.

The lawsuits are Pigford v. Glickman, which would give $1.15 billion to black farmers who were discriminated against by USDA in the 1980s and 1990s; and Cobell v. Salazar, which would give $3.4 billion to Indian tribes whose trust accounts were mismanaged by the Department of Interior.

The bill also included resolution of tribal water rights claims for the White Mountain Apache, Crow, Taos Pueblo, and Aamodt Tribes, plus a one-year extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The bill will now be sent to the White House for President Obama’s signature, after which it will return to court to confirm the fairness of the settlement and establish distribution of funds to the class members.

The bill is identical to the Senate version passed earlier this month. To read NSAC’s analysis of the Senate bill, click here.

Representatives opposed to passage of the bill, such as Rep. Steve King (R-IA), repeatedly raised suspicions of fraud regarding the Pigford settlement. These suspicions were rejected by supporters of the bill, such as Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who added, “we did the wrong thing, and all of us acknowledge it is never too late to do the right thing.”

NSAC was pleased to publicly support the bill and to work behind the scenes to help gain passage. We applaud the Administration for pushing and the Senate and House for getting the job done, and our hats are off to the Network of Black Farm Groups and Advocates for their tireless quest for justice.

SOURCE

The Problems of Functional Definitions for Personhood

The Problems of Functional Definitions for Personhood

Custom Search

By Vincent Chia

An Introduction to Personhood

A myriad of ethical problems is contingent upon the definition or understanding of what constitutes a person. From an embryological or biological point of view, there is no doubt that human life begins at conception.(1) However, following the footsteps of John Locke, some ethicists make a distinction between a human being and a human person. (2) According to Locke, “person” and “human” are distinct categories. That is, not all humans are persons, and perhaps not all persons are human. Locke defined a person as, “A thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself, the same thinking thing, in different times and places.” It seems that Locke is furnishing us with a functional definition of personhood, which describes a person as one who is capable of rationality and self-consciousness.

Similar functional definitions of personhood are likewise described by contemporary ethicists and moral philosophers. Some had argued that the early detection of fetal brain waves is the key to defining the beginning of personhood, which is positioned roughly at 40 to 43 days gestation. (3) Still others define a person as a being who can engage in cognitive acts such as sophisticated communication, consciousness, reasoning or the ability to solve complex problems, self-motivated activity, and having a self-concept plus self-awareness. (4) Apparently, this would place the unborn child outside the class of persons, and would even justify infanticide. L. W. Sumner, however, argues that the fetus is not a person until it is sentient and possesses the ability to feel and sense as a conscious being. This generally occurs during the middle of the second trimester of pregnancy, and undeniably by the end of that trimester. (5)

While the criteria for personhood varies from ethicist to ethicist, functional definitions for personhood share a common denominator: each definition states that if and only if an organism functions in a particular manner as defined by the criterion of personhood, we are otherwise not warranted to call that organism a person. In other words, unless the fetus (be it born or unborn) acquires a set of functions – be it sentience, consciousness or brain waves – it is not entitled to be called a person. These ethicists do not deny that fetuses or embryos are alive and are human beings, but they reject the claim that fetuses or embryos are persons according to some arbitrary criteria.Thus, fetuses and embryos are denied moral status.

Some Problems of Functional Definitions for Personhood

Let us arbitrarily take a personhood criterion for the purpose of our discussion here. For example, Mary Anne Warren defines a person as a being who can engage in cognitive acts such as sophisticated communication, consciousness, solving complex problems or the ability to reason, self-motivated activity, and having a self-concept. (6)

In her essay, Warren does not argue that each of her five conditions is individually sufficient for personhood. (7) She thinks that some of them may be, and that the conjunction of these three – consciousness, reasoning, and self-motivated activity – is probably sufficient for personhood. In other words, it is probably true that if a being is conscious, able to reason, and engages in self-motivated activity, then that being is a person. The fulfillment of all three of these conditions is sufficient for being a person.

It must be noted that Warren does not maintain that any of her five conditions is individually necessary. (8) But she does insist that the disjunction of the five conditions is necessary; that is, a necessary condition for personhood is that something satisfy at least one of these five conditions. She argues that if none of these five conditions is true of something, then that being is not a person. This criterion is controversial at best, as we would discover below.

For the sake of our discussion, we would look at Warren’s criterion logically, albeit simplistically. Putting her criterion into a conditional statement, we have:

If A then B.

Where A = “A being can engage in cognitive acts such as sophisticated communication, consciousness, solving complex problems, self-motivated activity and having a self-concept,” and;

B = “It is a person.”

Therefore, according to Warren, if “a being can engage in cognitive acts such as sophisticated communication, consciousness, solving complex problems, self-motivated activity and having a self-concept,” then it is “a person” (also known as modus ponens). Here, we give Warren the benefit of doubt that her criterion in modus ponens is valid.

Perhaps Warren is saying that A is a sufficient condition for B. But this does not mean that A is a necessary condition for B. Although it is considered a given (for the sake of argument) that certain “cognitive acts” are sufficient to define a person, it does not follow that those “cognitive acts” are necessary conditions for personhood. Furthermore, they might be other criteria that suffice as conditions for personhood without even resorting to the identification of cognitive abilities.

In other words, “cognitive acts” might constitute a part of a set of conditions that are (jointly) sufficient without being individually necessary for personhood. In view of this distinction between sufficient and necessary conditions, “if not A, then not B” is a logical fallacy (called denying the antecedent). It does not mean that, if “a being cannot engage in cognitive acts such as sophisticated communication, consciousness, solving complex problems, self-motivated activity and having a self-concept,” then it is “not a person.” There might be another criterion that qualifies the being as a person even though it cannot perform cognitive acts. My Uncle Sam might be sleeping (or even comatose) and cannot, in that particular state, perform cognitive acts. It does not follow that he is consequently not a person.

This fallacy must be further differentiated from its valid counterpart, modus tollens:

“Not B, therefore not A,” i.e. it is “not a person,” therefore, it “cannot engage in cognitive acts such as sophisticated communication, consciousness, solving complex problems, self-motivated activity and having a self-concept” is valid logically. For example, the table is not a person, therefore, it “cannot engage in cognitive acts such as sophisticated communication, consciousness, solving complex problems, self-motivated activity and having a self-concept.”

Another common fallacy we encounter in bioethics debates is the converse error:

If A, then B.

B,

Therefore A.

To put it within the context of Warren’s criterion for personhood, it is not true that:

Banksy-Monkey.jpg”It is a person,” therefore, “it can engage in cognitive acts such as sophisticated communication, consciousness, solving complex problems, self-motivated activity and having a self-concept.”

As hinted before, my Uncle Sam (who is arguably a person) could have been hit on the head with a baseball bat by a vicious burglar, and for a period of two weeks lost consciousness and all cognitive abilities. Intuitively, he did not cease to be a person when he was comatose. Eventually, he woke up fully functional, and gleefully free from any cognitive disabilities. Intelligibly, we ought to think that Uncle Sam was the same Uncle Sam before and after the period of coma. If this is what we think, than we should assume that Uncle Sam continued to exist as a person even during his period of coma. If we deny this, then Uncle Sam would have ceased to exist as a person upon going into a coma, and a new person (who looked, sounded, felt, and smelt like Uncle Sam) had popped into existence upon his recovery. Obviously, the latter thesis is quite absurd. If Uncle Sam have existed prior to, during, and after his coma, then his personhood (and his existence as a person) is not dependent upon his ability to perform those cognitive abilities stated by Warren. But if one were to adhere to Warren’s criterion of personhood, then it would be difficult to see why it would be wrong for physicians to kill Uncle Sam while he is in a coma.

Now let us take this example a little further. Suppose we argue that Uncle Sam’s life is valuable because he functioned as a person prior to his coma, and he most probably will continue to do so after his recovery from his comatose state (c.f. a fetus who has never been cognitively-abled). But what if Uncle Sam wakes up from the coma with severe disabilities e.g. losing all his past memories, language skills, and rational thought? In this case, he might never recover his cognitive abilities, although it might be possible that he recovers them eventually. The point is: in his comatose state, Uncle Sam is like a fetus in his mother’s womb – devoid of any past memories and cognitive abilities as defined by Warren, while retaining a potential to develop these functions upon recovery. Would it then be justified to kill Uncle Sam?

Or suppose Uncle Sam had a his twin brother, Ham. Sam was born, attained full self-consciousness, but subsequently lapsed into a coma; he recovered ten years later. Ham, however, never attained self-consciousness; he lapsed into a coma, and recovered at the same time as Sam did. Using the functional definitions of personhood, Sam was a person before he became comatose, whereas Ham was not. Sam had at one time achieved personhood (according to functional definitions), but his twin brother did not. Would it then be permissible to kill Ham but not Sam while they were both in a comatose state?

Ontological and Logical Problems

The aforementioned examples only serve to emphasize the fact that functional definitions do not even begin to elucidate the depth and breadth of the sufficient and/or necessary conditions for personhood. They fail to capture the full meaning and true essence of a person who deserves moral status and protection from harm.

The problems with the methodology of using functional definitions for personhood are both ontological and logical in nature.

1) Ontological Problems

Intuitively, the functions of a human being do not make him a person; a human person does not come into existence simply because certain functions are being demonstrated or attained. Rather, he is a person, and therefore, he exhibits certain functions. More specifically, it seems correct to think that it is the being of a person (or him being a person), and not his or her functions, that confers moral status.

Every living organism or substance has a nature (essence) that enables the organism to attain certain functions or abilities in the future. It is the nature or essence of the human being that makes certain functions or abilities possible. According to Moreland, “A substance’s inner nature is its ordered structural unity of ultimate capacities. A substance cannot change in its ultimate capacities; that is, it cannot lose its ultimate nature and continue to exist.” (9) Take for example the tiger cub. Because of the tiger nature or essence present in the tiger cub, it has the capacity to develop the abilities of hunting and roaring. The baby tiger might die before full maturity, and might never acquire the ability to hunt or roar, but it is still a tiger. On the other hand, we do not say that a chipmunk lacks something if it cannot roar like the tiger, for the chipmunk nature in it does not anticipate the development of such an ability. Nevertheless a tiger that cannot roar, perhaps due to some laryngeal pathology, is still a tiger because of its nature or essence.

Likewise, we can envisage a human person who lacks much cognitive abilities. A paranoid schizophrenic called Adam Hitler might have lost all sense of reality. He lacks all sense of social inhibitions (like controlling his carnal urges), is not aware of self, is unable to communicate, is not able to make rational decisions or any form of reasoning, and is rambling unintelligibly day in and day out. He develops hyperpyrexia and goes to bed after taking some paracetamol – presumably fed to him by his cognitively-abled mother. This places him within the category of being “unconscious.” According to Warren’s criterion of personhood, Adam Hitler is not a person. Does that mean that he has no moral status, and is therefore not entitled to the rights of personhood? Would it then be justified for the mother to kill Adam Hitler, as he is not a person by definition, and would his mother be not guilty of homicide if she were to kill him? Intuitively, killing Adam – before, during or after the period of his high fever – is to be regarded as homicide. Adam deserves moral status, not because of his abilities or disabilities, but by virtue of his being.

Let us take this example a little further. What if there is a robot that qualifies for personhood according to some functional definitions? Perhaps passing the Turing Test would be considered a sufficient, though not a necessary, condition for “personhood.” If so, then it would be morally right to kill a comatose human or an Adam Hitler, while it would be morally wrong to destroy a robot which passes the test.

A human being deserves moral status; a human being has a human nature that allows him to have the “ultimate capacities” of a human person. You were once a zygote, then a fetus, then a neonate, then an infant, a toddler, a teenager, and eventually an adult. It is obvious that you have changed physically, mentally, and psychologically. But it is still you – whoever you are and whatever your identity – who have changed; you have remained you throughout all these years of development. If you have moral status now, yesterday, and the day before, it seems extremely arbitrary and unreasonable to say that the same you have no moral status as a fetus or as a zygote some years ago.

2) Logical Problems

Furthermore, those who deny moral status to certain human beings by saying that these humans do not qualify as persons according to some arbitrary criteria of personhood, however well argued, seem to be committing the fallacy of reification. In reality, the concept of personhood is an artificial category or idea in the mind, and it obviously does not have the metaphysical property of existence in nature. There is no single occasion in time where the fetus or conceptus becomes a person. Such a moment cannot be pinpointed or observed because the event does not literally happen. I would even argue that there seems to be no valid distinction between the terms “human being” and “human person,” and such a distinction is apparently arbitrary and unnecessary.

Finally, from our discussion thus far, functional definitions (and cognitive theories) do not justify the apparent distinction between a “human being” and a “human person.” Beauchamp has aptly perceived that, “Cognitive theories all fail to capture the depth of commitments embedded in using the language of “person.” It is more assumed than demonstrated in these theories that nonhuman animals lack a relevant form of self-consciousness or its functional equivalent. Although nonhuman animals are not plausible candidates for moral personhood, humans too fail to qualify as moral persons if they lack one or more of the conditions of moral personhood. If moral personhood were the sole basis of moral rights, then these humans would lack rights – and precisely for the reasons that nonhuman animals would.” (10)

References

Based upon the Sciences of Embryology and Cell Biology, Human Life does Begin at Conception.
John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed. R. Woolhouse (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1997), II. xxvii.
See Baruch Brody, Abortion and the Sanctity of Human Life: A Philosophical View (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1975).
See Mary Anne Warren, “On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion,” in Do the Right Thing: A Philosophical Dialogue on the Moral and Social Issues of Our Time, ed. Francis J. Beckwith (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1996), 171-175.
See L. W. Sumner, Abortion and Moral Theory (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981).
Warren, “On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion,” 171-175.
Definition of sufficient: A condition A is said to be sufficient for a condition B, if (and only if) the truth (/existence /occurrence) [as the case may be] of A guarantees (or brings about) the truth (/existence /occurrence) of B.
Definition of necessary: A condition A is said to be necessary for a condition B, if (and only if) the falsity (/nonexistence /non-occurrence) [as the case may be] of A guarantees (or brings about) the falsity (/nonexistence /non-occurrence) of B.
J.P. Moreland, “Humanness, Personhood, and the Right to Die,” Faith and Philosophy 12.1 (1995): 101.
Tom L. Beauchamp, “The Failure of Theories of Personhood,” Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 9, Number 4 (December 1999): 309-324.

SOURCE

Safest place for black men is in prison

Safest place for black men is in prison, says report that found they are half as likely to die while behind bars

By Daily Mail Reporter

A study looking at inmates in North Carolina found that black prisoners seemed to be especially protected against alcohol and drug-related deaths, as well as lethal accidents and certain chronic diseases.

But that pattern didn’t hold for white men, who on the whole were slightly more likely to die in prison than outside, according to findings published in Annals of Epidemiology.

Researchers say it’s not the first time a study has found lower death rates among certain groups of inmates – particularly disadvantaged people, who might get protection against violent injuries and murder.

‘Ironically, prisons are often the only provider of medical care accessible by these underserved and vulnerable Americans,’ said Hung-En Sung of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

‘Typically, prison-based care is more comprehensive than what inmates have received prior to their admission.’

The new study involved about 100,000 men between age 20 and 79 who were held in North Carolina prisons at some point between 1995 and 2005. Sixty per cent of those men were black.

Researchers linked prison and state health records to determine which of the inmates died, and of what causes, during their prison stay.

Then they compared those figures with expected deaths in men of the same age and race in the general population.

Less than one per cent of men died during incarceration, and there was no difference between black and white inmates. But outside prison walls, blacks have a higher rate of death at any given age than whites.

Political party in power seems to have little effect on incarceration rates. In fact,Black incarceration rates grew by 3 times under the Clinton Presidency. Many have noted that prison populations are indicative of America\'s new slavery.

‘What’s very sad about this is that if we are able to all of a sudden equalise or diminish these health inequalities that you see by race inside a place like prison, it should also be that in places like a poor neighbourhood we should be able to diminish these sort of inequities,’ said Evelyn Patterson, who studies correctional facilities at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

‘If it can be done [in prison], then certainly it can happen outside of prison.’

As in the general population, cancer and heart and blood vessel diseases were the most common cause of death among inmates – accounting for more than half of deaths.
Contrast: For white men, the overall death rate was slightly higher than in the general population

Contrast: For white men, the overall death rate was slightly higher than in the general population

White prisoners died of cardiovascular diseases as often as expected and died of cancer slightly more often than non-prisoners.

Black inmates, by contrast, were between 30 and 40 per cent less likely to die of those causes than those who weren’t incarcerated.

They were also less likely to die of diabetes, alcohol and drug-related causes, airway diseases, accidents, suicide and murder than black men not in prison.

All told, their risk of death at any age was only half that of men living in the community.

For white men, the overall death rate was slightly higher – by about 12 per cent – than in the general population, with some of that attributed to higher rates of death from infection, including HIV and hepatitis.

When the researchers broke prisoners up by age, death rates were only higher for white prisoners age 50 and older.

‘For some populations, being in prison likely provides benefits in regards to access to healthcare and life expectancy,’ said study author Dr David Rosen, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

But, he added: ‘It’s important to remember that there are many possible negative consequences of imprisonment – for example, broken relationships, loss of employment opportunities, and greater entrenchment in criminal activity — hat are not reflected in our study findings but nevertheless have an important influence on prisoners’ lives and their overall health.’

For Dr Rosen, one of the main messages from the study is the need to make the world outside of prison walls safer, and to make sure people living there have adequate access to healthcare.

Read more: SOURCE