Mass Incarceration as a Modern Racial Caste System Essay

Mass Incarceration as a Modern Racial Caste System Essay

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In the wake of President Obama’s election, the United States seems to be progressing towards a post-racial society. However, the rates of mass incarceration of black males in America deem this to be otherwise. Understanding mass incarceration as a modern racial caste system will reveal the role of the criminal justice system in creating and perpetuating racial hierarchy America. The history of social control in the United States dates back to the first racial caste systems: slavery and the Jim Crow Laws. Although these caste systems were outlawed by the 13th amendment and Civil Rights Act respectively, they are given new life and tailored to the needs of the time.In other words, racial caste in America has not ended but has merely been redesigned in the shape of mass incarceration. Once again, the fact that more than half of the young black men in many large American cities are under the control of the criminal justice system show evidence of a new racial caste system at work. The structure of the criminal justice system brings a disproportionate number of young black males into prisons, relegating them to a permanent second-class status, and ensuring there chances of freedom are slim. Even when minorities are released from prisons, they are discriminated against and most usually end up back in prisons . The role of race in criminal justice system is set up to discriminate, arrest, and imprison a mass number of minority men. From stopping, searching, and arresting, to plea bargaining and sentencing it is apparent that in every phases of the criminal justice system race plays a huge factor. Race and structure of Criminal Justice System, also, inhibit the integration of ex offenders into society and instead of freedom, relea...


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...hment's Place: The Local Concentration of Mass Incarceration. Daedalus 139.3 (2010): 20+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 15 May 2014.
Thompson, Heather Anne. Why Mass Incarceration Matters: Rethinking Crisis, Decline, and Transformation in Postwar American History. The Journal of American History (2010) 97 (3): 703-734 doi:10.1093/jahist/97.3.703

Pettit, Becky, and Bruce Western. "Incarceration & Social Inequality." Daedalus 139.3 (2010): 8+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 15 May 2014.

WESTERN, and CHRISTOPHER MULLER. “ RECONSIDERING THE URBAN DISADVANTAGED: THE ROLE OF SYSTEMS, INSTITUTIONS, AND ORGANIZATIONS; SPECIAL EDITORS: MARIO L. SMALL AND SCOTT W. ALLARD: SYSTEM: Mass Incarceration, Macrosociology, and the Poor.”
The American Academy of Political and Social Science The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science,(2013)



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