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.
Studies show that black men are ten times more likely to be in federal or state prison than there white counterparts (De Giorgi, 2015). Being that African American’s make up a large portion of the lower socioeconomic class, statistics such as that place African American’s in a more disadvantaged position often causing more deviance. The effects of mass incarceration can have everlasting effects on those caught in the criminal justice system and often have the potential to affect their families as well. It can almost become a cycle because of how prisons function. It is hard to solely blame the political shift and war on drugs for the mass incarceration problem, when the high rates are still lingering in the United States.
African Americans are mostly affected by mass incarceration. African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population. African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of white, it is projected that one in every three African Americans birth are expected to go to prison. "The consequences for black men have radiated out to their families. By 2000, more than 1 million black children had a father in jail or prison"(Coates pg.2).
Prisons are filled with many ethnic backgrounds, but the majority of the people behind bars are African Americans and Hispanics. African Americans and Hispanics are six times more likely to get incarcerated than whites. African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to be sentenced for lower level charges or simple drug charges. African American and Hispanics also have a high target of getting pulled over because of them being minorities. The prison population in the United States increased nearly five-fold between 1980 and 2009.
In 2008 the breakdown for adults under correctional control was as follows: one out of 18 men, one in 89 women, one in 11 African-Americans (9.2 percent), one in 27 Latinos (3.7 percent), and one in 45 Caucasians (2.2 percent). Since 1980 the prison population has quadrupled in part due to the mandatory sentencing on drug convictions. The rate of non-violent crimes have been on the decline and only about 7.9 of federal inmates and in prison for violent crimes. The Bureau of Justice Statistics also repots in a 2002 study that out of 275,000 prisoner that were released in 1994 67.5% were rearrested within 3 years and 51.8% were back in prison. With the growth of the prison population incarceration has become a multi-billion dollar industry.
“The incarceration rates disproportionately impact men of color: 1 in every 15 African American men and 1 in every 36 Hispanic men are incarcerated in comparison to 1 in every 106 white men.”(aclu.org) So, why is the majority of American prison population is minority’s ? There are many causes
(Mendel 2) Although non-Hispanic white make up three-fifths of the total youth population, only 37 percent are white in these detention centers. (Mendel 2) In the United States the youth incarceration rate is 5 times higher than the next country with the most incarcerations 69 of every 100,000, compared to the US 336 of every 100,000. There is serious threat to the juvenile system in the United States. Not only are there many young people in detention centers, these kids are not getting the attention they need. Juvenile and other federal correction centers have failed to provide safety and mental well-being for these kids, they have also failed in helping these kids get in a better position in life, which shows how ineffective these retention centers are for confined youth, and... ... middle of paper ... ...duating high school by the age 19” (Mendel 12).
The United States leads the world in prisoner per population at 754 persons per 100,000 person. Seventh-four percent of the people who came to America to settle were in some form of bondage between the years of 1609 to 1755. Minorities in America combines for more than half of the population that is incarcerated. African American represents thirteen percent of the national population, but represent forty-nine percent of the inmate population.. Twenty-four percent of Hispanic Americans represent the inmate that are either in prison or jail, while only representing sixteen percent of the nation population. Majority of the inmate that are in prison or jail lack education which affects their potential to make a decent income.
This virus however, disproportionately affects the minority population as compares to the white population. Why are African American and Hispanic men more prone to the virus than other racial groups? Homosexuality, MSM (Men Sleeping with men) and Social Stigmas about homosexuality play a big role in the explanation. One in every fifteen African American men are incarcerated. Statistics show that one in every three black men can expect to go to prison at least once in their lives.
One staggering number that comes up when researching mandatory minimums is the percentage of people in federal prison for drug offences now, versus before mandatory minimums for drug offences were put in place. It is reported that as of now sixty percent of the federal prison population is made up of drug defendants (prisonpolicy.org), this is twenty two percent higher than it was before mandatory minimums. Note, this only reflects a growth in inmate population, not a reduction in crime or drug use. Another number relating to the results of mandatory minimums is the amount of people in jail who desperately need help. “Some 80 percent of the men and women behind bars – some 1.4 million individuals – are seriously involved with drug and alcohol abuse.”(prisonpolicy.org).