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Jackson Decries `Jail-Industrial Complex' in US


THE Rev. Jesse Jackson gives President Clinton a grade of ``incomplete'' on his efforts to help minorities in the United States.

Speaking at a Monitor breakfast meeting with reporters, the Rev. Mr. Jackson says that more than a year after Democrats recaptured the White House, there is still no federal policy to address issues such as ``urban abandonment'' and ``redlining.'' Instead, Jackson says the Democratic Congress is creating a ``jail-industrial complex'' in an effort to make Americans feel secure against urban crime.

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Jackson also decried Mr. Clinton's failure to appoint a new Supreme Court justice to ``speak with moral authority'' and reflect a ``sense of social justice'' in the style of the late Thurgood Marshall.

Even so, Jackson praises the president for improving the ``tone'' of the White House following the Reagan-Bush years. He also applauds Clinton for being on the right side of the South African issue, and for improving the income tax structure to help low-income Americans.

Haiti, another crisis of keen concern to American blacks, requires bold action on the part of the White House, Jackson says.

``For too long, [America] had this kinship with the military establishment there that the US ... trained [and financed] in Fort Benning, Ga.... We cannot allow them to keep killing people before our eyes, holding the UN in contempt, humiliating our country, and weakening us in our foreign policy....

``If we cannot effectively deal with Haiti - an army without moral authority, without military might, and within our own hemisphere - we cannot speak with authority in North Korea, Bosnia, or China, or any place in the world,'' he says.

Jackson calls for a ``rescue mission,'' using US military force unilaterally, if necessary, to put Haiti's elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, back into office.

In the US, Jackson says American minorities must expand their political power to prevent persistent injustice. He says that in the US legal system, 78 percent of the arrests involve white criminals, yet 52 percent of those in prison are black.

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Those results reflect laws skewed against American blacks, such as rules that require a mandatory five-year prison sentence for possessing five grams of crack cocaine (a drug often used by blacks), but a far lighter sentence for a similar amount of powdered cocaine (preferred by whites).

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