Mass Incarceration In The New Jim Crow By Michelle Alexander

1324 Words6 Pages
Introduction
Mass incarceration in the United States has been a very prominent and distinct feature of our criminal justice system. The rates of which this system imprisons is very unequal when compared to other countries in the world, as well as when compared to other races within the United States itself. Mass incarceration does alter the lives of those who are within its prison system, and also those who are related to those individuals whether it be through blood or bond. These effects can extend to disrupting one’s life to the point where they can’t vote, go to school, hold a job, or deprive them of other rights, and affect others whereby they may be more likely to experience negative life events, be deprived of resources, and/or be more
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In her critically acclaimed book, The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander explores this topic in-depth and delivers it in a very parsimonious, yet powerful way. She explores the history of mass incarceration, argues how this phenomenon came to be, and attempts to discern possible ways to diffuse this troublesome situation. In this paper, I will explore some of the topics delivered in Alexander’s book in conjunction with theories, peer-reviewed studies, and statistical reports to try to piece together some topics presented with conflict. First, I will explore the history of mass incarceration here America to attempt to see why there are racial discrepancies and where their origins lie. Second, I will look at Michelle Alexander’s book and review its chapters examining its evidence, in addition to its possible limitations. Lastly, I will examine mass incarceration’s effect on families in the United States, more specifically the effects that mass incarceration has on those related to the offender, and also the effects on the offender himself. To complete the last part of my analysis, I will look at contemporary criminological and sociological theories and how incarceration and families…show more content…
One policy one could examine to see its implications on incarceration rates in the United States is the “War on Drugs.” This war has taken place since the Nixon administration in the 1970s, and aims to eliminate the possession, importation, and solicitation of illegal substances. This war has multiple fronts in which people are currently fighting, but the domestic theatre of war is a culprit for this rise of incarceration rates. Bobo and Thompson examined this phenomenon and found, “rapid increase in incarceration rates can be traced to the "War on Drugs" and associated sentencing practices” (451). The “War on Drugs” can be seen taking place in predominately urban impoverished African-American communities. As a result, more African-Americans are being arrested for drug crimes, whether they be petty possession misdemeanor crimes or more serious felony solicitation of illegal substance crimes. Further, since these areas are more impoverished, individuals will look for other ways in order to generate income in order to support themselves and their
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