Big Think just sat down with Glenn Loury, a Brown University economist with views so radical he’s often shocked by them himself.
Since 1980, the number of Americans in prison has risen five-fold. Black and Hispanic men make up two-thirds of that group. Loury is on a tear against a society that throws young black men into jail or juvenile detention facilities for minor crimes like smoking pot. When you spend your young adulthood in and out of jail, your role models are fellow criminals. In a recent New York Times op ed, Loury writes: “Overrepresentation of blacks among lawbreakers is the result as much as it is the cause of our overrepresentation among the imprisoned — a fact about which the conventional racial narrative has too little to say.”