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For the past two decades, the criminal justice system in the United States has been undergoing a tremendous expansion. There are now more than one million black men in jail and that one out of every four black males will go on prison in there lifetime. Knowing these statistics it put a burden on the black community because many families are left with single family home, the unemployment rate for black male go up, they can not vote and now they make jail seem like it is fun to go to.
Black men in Jail are having drastic effects upon the black community. The first and arguably most important effect is that it intensifies the problem of single parent households within the black community. When these men are sentenced to prison, they, many times, leave behind a wife/girlfriend and/or children. If they have already have had children, that child must spend multiple years of his/her early life without a primary father figure. In addition, that male's absence is even more prominently felt when the woman has to handle all of the financial responsibilities on her own. This poses even more problems since women are underpaid relative to men in the workforce, childcare costs must be considered, and many of these women do not have the necessary skills to obtain a job, which would pay a living wage, which could support her and the children. Black male incarceration has done much to ensure that black female-headed households are now equal with poverty.
Black male imprisonment also has much to do with rising black male unemployment rates.
As these men re-enter the workforce they now likely have less skills than when they first entered prison. There are few, if any, programs, which train these men to effectively re-enter society. As jobs continue to move out further and further into the suburbs, these males, who are from the inner city, are left with few living wage employment options. The rates that convicts go back to jail are so high not because these men want to return to a life of crime but since few employment options are available, they tend to utilize their limited skills to get the money they need to survive. If more efforts do not make additional training available to these males that are realistically designed to help them obtain a living wage job, the rates that convicts go back to jail and black male unemployment will continue to increase.
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"Incarcerated Black Males." 123HelpMe.com. 26 Mar 2019
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Black male incarceration rates also have severely weakened the voting strength of black communities. As these men are released from prison not only are their already limited kills diminished but also they no longer have the right to vote in any elections. With over one million black males currently under the control of the criminal justice system, the applicable voting rolls of the black community are being demolished by this prison epidemic. Some might even argue that the plan of the power elite in constructing more prisons was to ensure blacks could not effectively participate in the political process.
Unless we do more to arrest these increasing incarceration rates, black political power may be nothing more than a memory in the coming decades.
The final negative effect of increased black male incarceration is that being forced to spend time in prison has lost its negative stigma. One of the most beneficial reasons to impose incarceration as a punishment was to reinforce the idea that only wayward men have to go to prison before potentially turning their lives around. Unfortunately, being a former inmate now seems to be worn more like a badge of honor than a disgraceful occurrence. Black men are now proud to boast that they have been in prison and survived the experience. We cannot allow black children to grow up believing that prison is a rite of passage if we ever hope to arrest these ever-increasing incarceration rates.
For the black community in general, nearly one fourth of it’s young men are under the control of the criminal justice system at the time when their peers are beginning families, learning constructive life skills, and starting careers. The problem of crime is a complex one and will not be resolved overnight. Rather than viewing the solution as hopeless or too long -term, though, there are real and immediate actions, which can be taken to prevent the next generation of black males from further swelling the ranks of correctional populations.