Essay on The Segregation Of The American Prison System

Essay on The Segregation Of The American Prison System

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Another form of human rights violations that stems from the American prison system is the modern slavery of prisoners. PICs have used their bloated population of inmates to their advantage, exploiting them in the form of prison labor. Because the prison industrial complex is a driving force of many of the United States’s economic policies, it has become a profit hungry industry (Paris), exploiting inmates anyway they can. PICs collaborate with private industries, abusing the labor force of their inmates by paying them unfair wages and forcing them to work in unregulated conditions (Young, 2000). The 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution advocates for this new form of slavery: laws that were passed by a majority of southern states after Reconstruction made it easier to arrest Black individuals for petty crimes. Once these individuals were incarcerated, the prisons would be able to make them work for free. The only difference between the old and new form of slavery is the diversity of races within the prison labor force, yet they are still comprised mostly of poor minorities. Without proper compensation for their work, prisoners are servants to a society to which they do not belong: “[t]he payment of wage is a right […] which destroys the state of slavery” (Whitin, 1912). The need for prison labor and the outdated myth that labor teaches hard work has made it easier for prisons to reasonably lock up more individuals. If more consumers were aware that they were buying items made by inmates, or of their working conditions, it might impact the use of prison labor; but as a society, we must first shift away from the ideology of simply locking up people in these prisons and throwing away the key.
The increasing numbers of incarcerated...

... middle of paper ...

...n of prisoner abuse stems within and outside of the prison industrial complex. Disenfranchised communities are constantly targeted by government policies and reforms that do little to prevent crime from occurring. The cooperation between private prisons and political leaders allows them to profit off of these individuals while neglecting them financially, physically, and mentally. In order to combat the corruption within U.S. prisons, as a society, we must address the needs of prisoners by providing them a support system immediately after release, or restructure the entire criminal justice system so that instead of being targeted, disadvantaged neighborhoods can benefit from addressing low-level crime in their communities themselves. We cannot rely on prisons to solve our societal problems, but we should instead become an active participant in addressing these issues.

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