Obama: US Legal System Unjust

Obama: US Legal System UnjustObama: US Legal System Unjust

The United States has too long ignored the effect of high incarceration rates on minority and poor communities, US President Barack Obama said in a TV documentary featuring an unprecedented presidential visit to a prison.

"As a society we seem to be OK with certain communities being locked in this cycle where kids are being raised around drug crime. They naturally gravitate toward drug crime," Obama told six inmates in July at the prison in the documentary, which is scheduled to air on Sunday.

"They then get involved in the criminal justice system, and it just churns, and everybody thinks that's normal," the president told the nonviolent drug offenders at the medium-security El Reno federal prison in Oklahoma. His visit is part of HBO's "Vice" documentary program.

Obama has made criminal justice reform a top priority of his final years in office and beyond.

More than 1.5 million Americans were in state or federal prisons at the end of 2013, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. African-Americans comprised about a third of the prisoners at the time despite being 15 percent of the US population.