The New Jim Crow, By Michelle Alexander Essay

The New Jim Crow, By Michelle Alexander Essay

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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 likely to end up incarcerated themselves. 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 incarcerati...


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...se it puts the more minor misdemeanor crimes near the same level as the more serious felony crimes, making it unfair for someone who is committing a minor crime as compared to one selling drugs in the community and possibly committing violence as a result.
As a result of the “War on Drugs” taking place in the more predominately African-American Communities and “Three-Strike” laws being enacted in some jurisdiction, one can say these two policies can be responsible for this racial disparity. This is because if police have an increased presence in an African-American community, the likelihood for an arrest increases, and if the offender has had two priors, he can serve a lengthy sentence or possibly life in prison. These lengthier sentences will in-time allow the incarceration rates to increase because less individuals will be released from prison than those entering.

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