Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg called for an end to the disproportionate jailing of African Americans and Latinos on Tuesday after visiting San Quentin State Prison with his wife, Priscilla.
“Blacks and Hispanics are significantly more likely than whites to be arrested for possession and sale of marijuana and to receive a conviction and criminal record, even though the majority of marijuana users are non-Hispanic whites,” he posted on Facebook.
He added that over half the people entering prison live below the poverty line and that “our entire society pays the price for an unfair, broken system.”
Zuckerberg posted a picture of himself talking with an inmate (pictured above), and praised the spirit of the prisoners he met and their determination to return to their communities and families.
He concluded with a call for more action on prison reform. “Making our criminal justice system fairer and more effective is a huge challenge for our country,” he wrote. “I’m going to keep learning about this topic, but some things are already clear. We can’t jail our way to a just society, and our current system isn’t working.”
Prison reform has become a bigger topic in political media and on the 2016 campaign trail with presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and Rand Paul calling for an easing of jail sentences for nonviolent offenses like marijuana possession.
And in September, HBO aired a VICE special featuring President Obama’s visit to an Oklahoma prison, where he spoke frankly with six inmates about what issues from the past drove them into the system.