"We have a moral disaster on our hands": Ta-Nehisi Coates breaks down the horrors of mass incarceration

The celebrated author and intellectual explains why the prison-industrial complex is so destructive

Published November 10, 2015 5:42PM (EST)

Ta-Nehisi Coates joined “Late Night with Seth Meyers” on onday to promote his book, “Between the World and Me.” Focus, however, lingered on Coates’s most recent Atlantic article, “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration.”

“We have 750 per 100,000 people in jail," Coates explained. "That is the highest in the world. The next closest competitor is Russia, at 450 per 100,000. That’s not even really a competition. We have 5 percent of the world’s population. We have 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated population.”

“We have roughly 700 per 100,000 [incarcerated] for people at large,” Coates continued. “But for black males, the rate is like 4,000 per 100,000.”

Coates reminded viewers that these stats resulted from decades of discriminatory policymaking. “We made a policy change in this country,” Coates said, “and we now have a moral, moral disaster on our hands.”

Watch an excerpted video below:

(h/t Mediaite)

By Brendan Gauthier

Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer.

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Mass Incarceration Seth Meyers Ta-nehisi Coates Video