Michelle Alexander asserts that mass incarceration in contemporary American society is the result of targeting African Americans in the “War on Drugs” and serves to maintain a racial caste system similar to the system that existed during pre-Civil War slavery and has been propelled by what Michael Cohen calls “Jim Crow political logic” of Southern
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
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
In a perfect world, we would not have racial tensions and we would all sing Kumbaya together, however, we do not live inside a perfect world. Racial injustice that relates to incarceration in the United States, specifically to those who are African-Americans, is a literal fabrication of our imperfect world and details the thinly veiled allegory of our social apartheid. According to author Glenn Loury, this aspect of our nation’s prison system is the most damaging to our African-American community, wherein said group are being racially profiled and “trapped in the dark vestiges of the ghetto” (Loury, 2008, 57). In his ethnography, Race, Incarceration, and American Values, Loury highlights these troubling trends concerning the dehumanization of African-Americans through our current sociopolitical landscape.
Throughout the semester, we have discussed many different issues that are currently prevalent in the United States, specifically those related to racial discrimination. One specific issue that I have developed interest and research in is that of institutionalized racism, specifically in the form of mass incarceration, and what kinds of effects mass incarceration has on a community. In this paper, I will briefly examine a range of issues surrounding the mass incarceration of black and Latino males, the development of a racial undercaste because of rising incarceration rates, women and children’s involvement and roles they attain in the era of mass incarceration, and the economic importance that the prison system has due to its development.
Although we would like to believe the world is not as racially charged in 2013 as it was in the 1960s, a look in our penal system would show that minorities are still arrested and incarcerated at a higher rate than whites. The United States has experienced a rise in its prison population over the last 40 years and our incarceration rate is nearly 5 times higher than any other country. Even though 13% of the US population are African American males, they make up 38% of the prison population. Contributing factors to these numbers are mandatory minimum sentences, high crime and poverty areas, and lack of rehabilitative resources within our system (p.77-78).
Mass incarceration may not seem like major issue to people, but according to article by Melinda D. Anderson it is causing the life of some children also their families. The growth of incarceration of black people presumably seems to be increasing, particularly more within the US. According to Naacp.org, “African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites” therefore as those people are being incarcerated, it’s causing problems not only for them but also for their families as well. The children of incarcerated people are being criticized in school by their friends. Without having proper guardianship, a student’s academic life tends to fall. The article “How
According to the United States Constitution, the 13th amendment states, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction” (U.S. Constitution). Although slavery ended just over 100 years ago, “involuntary” slavery has continued through the prison system. The U.S. prison system’s population has grown tremendously. The increase in population was mainly driven by greater penalties for non-violent crimes. On average, 1and 3 blacks are arrested and sent to prison, reason they make up majority of the prisons population. Rappers like Biggy Smalls, Tupac Shakur and WU-TANG CLAN use their musical
In the United States, the rate of incarceration has increased shockingly over the past few years. In 2008, it was said that one in 100 U.S. adults were behind bars, meaning more than 2.3 million people. Even more surprising than this high rate is the fact that African Americans have been disproportionately incarcerated, especially low-income and lowly educated blacks. This is racialized mass incarceration. There are a few reasons why racialized mass incarceration occurs and how it negatively affects poor black communities.
In the 21 first Century, the United States still has an extremely large number of individuals in the penal system. To this day, the American country still contains the highest prison population rate in the world. Although mass incarceration rates are extremely high, decreases in this number have been made. Since the first time since the 1970s, the imprisoned population has declined about 3 percent. This small step seemingly exemplifies how a vast majority of individuals who becoming aware of these issues and performing actions to decrease these numbers. In the Chapter 13 of James Kilgore’s Understanding Mass Incarceration: A People's Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time, he asserts how individuals who oppose mass incarceration
Mass incarceration is the essential approach target of detainment. The United States imprisons more of its people than any nation on Earth, and by a considerable margin. Criminals attract little empathy and have no political capital. Many consequential factors are present when correlated with mass incarceration. Families are torn because of the incarceration of a loved one. Upon, examination the intergenerational consequences, economic effect, socio-economic status of African-American men and women, advancement of the technological incarceration and rehabilitation are dilemmas that are not brought up as much in mass media.
The topic that I have chosen to discuss is “Mass incarceration in the world past and present.” This topic is pretty relatable for most individuals, because of the amount of incarcerations over the past few decades taking individuals away from their families. This is one topic that I have never really looked into to find out the reasons behind mass incarceration. To most people this topic is not one that many may find interesting, however after researching the topic it is one that is interesting and very important. Throughout this paper we will hit what exactly mass incarceration and some of the official data that shows the numbers of incarceration over the few decades and how it increase or decrease over the years. Next, we will discuss the
The past quarter century of American history has been profoundly impacted by the “war on drugs.” Ever since the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 was passed by President Richard Nixon, the number of yearly incarcerations for drug violations has grown exponentially. America’s drug policies have cost billions of dollars and imprisoned hundreds of thousands of Americans, yet rates of drug, property, and violent crime have failed to decrease. Yassaman Saadatmand summates the consequences of Nixon’s policies: “Not only has the drug war failed to reduce violent and property crime, but it has also shifted criminal justice resources (the police, courts, prisons, probation officers, etc.) away from directly fighting violent and property crime.” The issue is further complicated by racial inequalities in the rates of drug use and crime. Whereas Whites consist the majority of the population of any state, they are outnumbered by African-Americans in both state and federal prisons (E. Ann Carson 2013). This incongruity is paralleled with many other races, such as an overrepresentation of Native Americans and an underrepresentation of Asians in rates of drug use. What causes this imbalance? What purpose do the higher rates of incarceration for certain minorities serve? As this topic is explored, it becomes evident that the racial disparity in drug crime is perpetuated by America’s legacy of bigotry and racism, capitalism, and a cycle of poverty.
In short, it highlights the racial dimensions of the War on Drugs and argues about the main reasons why so many black men are being wrongfully held behind bars. It also examines the rights that are taken away from them and how the government is stopping them from becoming normal members of society on the inside and outside. Convicted felons cannot vote for life, and wrongfully convicted felons cannot vote for life. As a result of their criminality, they are legally discriminated against in their ability to obtain housing, employment, education, and public benefits like Medicaid and food stamps. Rather than combat drug activity, the War on Drugs has served as a deliberate strategy to control people of color and remove them from the political process, which is racist in both application and
The most problematic conclusion about Mass Incarceration, whatever the causes or practices, is that currently America has had the highest national prison rates in the world; furthermore, the rates of minorities (particularly African Americans) are extraordinarily disproportionate to the rates of incarcerated Caucasians. Despite the overall rise in incarceration rates since the 1980s, the crime rates have not been reduced as would be expected. Researchers, activists, and politicians alike are now taking a closer look at Mass Incarceration and how it affects society on a larger scale. The purpose of this paper is to examine the anatomy of Mass Incarceration for a better understanding of its importance as a dominant social issue and its ultimate relation to practice of social work. More specifically the populations affected by mass incarceration and the consequences implacable to social justice. The context of historical perspectives on mass incarceration will be analyzed as well as insight to the current social welfare policies on the