Mass Incarceration Essay

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While Jim Crow dominated the social landscape of the South for much of the 20th century, formal segregation and acts of racism also existed in the North during this time. Blacks who moved to the North in the Great Migration after the First World War might have been able to live without the same degree of oppression experienced in the South, however the elements of racism and discrimination still existed. Despite the work by abolitionist, life for free blacks was still harsh because of northern racism. Most free blacks lived in overpopulated ghettoes in the major Northern cities such New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. In the Philadelphia Negro, W.E.B Dubois’ does a social study on race, and uncovers many social problems that plagued African…show more content…
Opponents to mass incarceration like Michelle Alexander have called it the “New Jim Crow”, a social institution aimed at limiting the rights of African Americans. Upon their release criminals are legally denied the right to vote, excluded from juries, and placed in a position of subordination. Others would suggest that, “cultural shifts, political realignments, changes in job prospects for low-skilled men, and perhaps most importantly, legal changes” have led to the severe increase and absolute disparity in the rates of black imprisonment over the late 20th and early 21st centuries. One thing is certain, mass incarceration would be justifiable if crime decreased but that is just not the case. Evidence has shown that the benefits of mass imprisonment in reducing crime have diminished over time and incarceration is now a much less effective method for crime control than it was before the 1990s. Due to factual evidence of high rates racial disparity in imprisonment, mass incarceration can be seen as a significant generator of social inequality. The history and the study of mass incarceration is important because it defines us as a society just like slavery and Jim Crow once
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