The American Criminal Justice System And Mass Incarceration Essay

The American Criminal Justice System And Mass Incarceration Essay

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Michelle Alexander’s use of “Jim Crow” is a viable and useful analogy to describe the current American criminal justice system and mass incarceration. I believe our criminal justice system does not truly define justice or fairness. Also, I agree on the fact that while old “Jim Crow” laws may be dead; the current justice system serves many of the same purposes of those laws. Today, mass incarceration is the biggest issue in our criminal justice system, for mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow.
Mass incarceration is a system that locks people not only behind actual bars in actual prisons, but also behind virtual bars and virtual walls-walls that are invisible to the naked eye, but function nearly as effectively as Jim Crow laws once did at locking people of color into permanent second class citizenship (Alexander, 2012, p.12-13). The class of V100 taught me that the war on drugs is the leading cause of the prison boom in our country. A power-point slide from professor Jones, claims that approximately half a million people are in prison or jail for drug offense today compared to an estimated 41,000 in 1980. Drug offenders in the United States spend more time under the criminal justice system’s formal control—in jail or prison, on probation or parole – than drug offenders anywhere else in the world (Alexander, 2012, p.186). Here Michelle Alexander emphasizes that mass incarceration is a serious issue, yet we are not putting in enough effort to terminate this terrible conflict. Mass incarceration is racially prejudice!
This to me is bizarre and insane to believe that we are wasting space and money on imprisoning low-level offenders. There is widespread recognition that the war on drugs is racist and that politicians ...


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...ce shootings, and the terrible and mistakenly use of brutal force. The NYPD began collecting data on pedestrian stops following the shooting of Amadou Diallo, an African immigrant who died in a hail of police bullets on the front steps of his own home in February 1999. Diallo was followed to his apartment building by four white police officers – members of the elite Street Crime Unit – who viewed him as suspicious and wanted to interrogate him. They ordered him to stop, but, according to the officers, Diallo did not respond immediately. He walked a bit farther to his apartment building, opened the door, and retrieved his wallet – probably to produce identification. The officers said they thought the wallet was a gun, and fired forty-one time. Amadou Diallo died at the age of twenty-two. He was unarmed and had no criminal record (Alexander, 2012, p.135).

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