Mass Incarceration Research Paper

analytical Essay
940 words
940 words

Essay 1: Policing, Incarceration, and the Black Lives Matter Movement Michelle Alexander calls the contemporary moment of mass incarceration “the new racial equilibrium.” According to Alexander, “More African American adults are under correctional control today—in prison or jail, on probation or parole—than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.” Making up only 5 percent of the global population, the United States imprisons 25 percent of the world’s inmates. Modern histories of state violence, including police brutality and the mass incarceration of Black people, have not only significantly impacted the lives of African Americans, but also have informed the contemporary Movement for Black Lives. While African Americans …show more content…

“In only seven years, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the police have killed 7,427 people,” a number that far exceeds that of any other developed nations. While this number is not disaggregated for race, the history of racial profiling in the U.S. would suggest that a disproportionate number of these victims were African American. In fact, we can easily name many of the most highly publicized cases: Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, and Tamir Rice. Police departments across the country are spending millions of dollars in taxpayer money to compensate the victims and families of the victims each year. Nevertheless, the money does not reverse the fact that police brutality is oppressive and traumatic for the people who witness it or for people whose loved ones have been killed. Furthermore, it is rare for police departments to ever hold themselves or individual officers accountable for their actions, and officers who do get investigated, rarely are found guilty or convicted of a crime. While the police are directly enacting mass incarceration, and actively commit crimes including murder, they rarely face incarceration themselves, unlike the communities of color they violently …show more content…

Though the impacts may seem less direct, the constant barrage of information and images representing anti-Black state violence have significant impacts on African Americans. Firstly, viewing images and videos of police violence, like the livestream of Philando Castile’s death, can have traumatic effects on viewers. The effect of these videos can be compared to the effect of lynching videos, which spread the message to African Americans that their lives did not matter. Furthermore, the filmers of these videos are often faced with charges of their own, thus invalidating their drive for justice through documentation. Despite the negative impacts of the increased visibility of Black death and suffering online, social media has had a critical role in the development of the Black Lives Matter

In this essay, the author

  • Explains michelle alexander calls the contemporary moment of mass incarceration "the new racial equilibrium." the united states imprisons 25 percent of the world's inmates.
  • Analyzes how the system of mass incarceration allows the state to control the black population through legalized discrimination, political disenfranchisement, and de facto segregation.
  • Argues that police brutality is oppressive and traumatic for the victims and their families. while the police are directly enacting mass incarceration and actively commit crimes, they rarely face prosecution.
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