It is an existing theory that our society is constructed via racial dimensions, and that racial equality is a figment of the imagination. This very principle is highlighted in Michelle Alexander’s novel, “The New Jim Crow.” The specific dimensions covered within the text include the unjust aspects of the federal drug policy, and by connection that of mass incarceration as well. Alexander claims that racism is still very prominent in present day society and is direct and frank about the heavy influence of white supremacy. One of the main arguments pushed by Alexander in this book is that mass incarceration is “ a stunningly comprehensive and well-disguised system of racialized social control that functions in a manner strikingly similar
There are more African Americans in prison now, than there were enslaved in 1850. These individuals are not in prison because they are committing more crimes than their white counterparts, but because of a discriminatory system that targets african americans. Blacks can commit the same crimes as whites, but are more likely to be imprisoned and or receive a steeper sentence. This disproportionate racial sentencing has been a growing issue the United States for four decades, and started with the Reagan Administration's War On Drugs. Private prison organizations lobby for harsher punishments, and profit from the influx of inmates. With more African Americans in jail, this has had a crippling effect on the black community. The children of these inmates grow up without one of their parents, they to do poorly in school and have negative view on police officers and the law.
The prison population is overwhelmingly male and disproportionately minority. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 25% of state prisoners are white, 38% are black and 21% are Hispanic, revealing a degree of disproportion when compared to the general population where 62% are white, 13% are black and 17% are Hispanic. Racial disparity with regards to imprisonment has been a feature of the prison system from decades yet this disparity has increased over time. African Americans today are incarcerated in state prisons at a rate that is 5.1 times the imprisonment of whites. African Americans comprise 31% of individuals arrested for drug violations.
The United States has historically had its fair share of race-related issues throughout its short existence, with slavery being the first issue that jumps to everyone’s minds when the topic is broached, but another lesser known area that deserves light shed on it are the drug and alcohol laws that have been passed specifically targeting every race except white Americans. Historically, many of these laws have targeted specific groups of individuals that were closely associated with a specific type of drug, such as the Chinese Americans and opium, African Americans with crack cocaine, and Mexican Americans with marijuana. The laws targeting these groups of minorities in America tended to have disproportionate prison sentences attached to them
Through the years, the world has made substantial progress towards ensuring equal treatment under law for all citizens. However, the cycle continues, as disparities within the justice decision making process is growing at each level of the criminal justice system. Although the drug policies and sentencing guidelines that are put into place by our legislators are said to be “race neutral,” they have actually shown to be pervasively biased, affecting both innocent as well as guilty minority citizens. There is no question that the most important stage of the criminal justice system is the sentencing phase. It is at this stage where prosecutors, along with law enforcement personnel, attempt to determine who will or will not be granted leniency
Annotated Bibliography Alexander, M. (2010). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York: The New Press. Alexander opens up on the history of the criminal justice system, disciplinary crime policy and race in the U.S. detailing the ways in which crime policy and mass incarceration have worked together to continue the reduction and defeat of black Americans.
Synopsis In the introduction, Michelle Alexander (2010) introduces herself and expresses her passion about the topic of how the criminal justice system accomplishes racial hierarchy here in the United States. In chapter 1 of The New Jim Crow, Alexander (2010) suggests that the federal government can no longer be trusted to make any effort to enforce black civil rights legislation, especially when the Drug War is aimed at racial and ethnic minorities. In response to revolts formed between black slaves and white indentured servants, rich whites extended special privileges to their indentured servants that drove a wedge between them and the slaves that successfully stopped the revolts.
In 1972, former President Richard Nixon made his infamous statements regarding crime and drug abuse. In this speech, he declared a war on crime and drugs and intended to decrease the number of people using drugs and the amount of crimes that were committed. Since this declaration, incarceration rates in the U.S. have gone up by 500%, even though the amount of crime happening has gone down. One of the reasons why I feel our rates have risen, is because sometimes, we put people in jail when they don’t need to be there in the first place.
Women of color are the most targeted, prosecuted, and imprisoned women in the country and rapidly increasing their population within the prison systems. According to Nicholas Freudenberg, 11 out of every 1000 women will end up incarcerated in their lifetime, the average age being 35, while only five of them are white, 15 are Latinas, and 36 are black. These two groups alone make up 70 percent of women in prison, an astonishing rate compared to the low percentage comprise of within the entire female population in the country (1895). Most of their offenses are non-violent, but drug related, and often these women come from oppressive and violent backgrounds, where many of their struggles occurred directly within the home and from their own family.
The author found that more people of color, especially black males are under the control our criminal justice system than were enslaved in 1850. The author supports the pervious idea by using specific examples such as the “War on Drugs” to show people of color are targeted more by law enforcement officers and scrutinize harsher by our courts for drug laws but the drug usage is used at the same rate by blacks and whites. With the help of mass-media, the “crack” epidemic in inner cities, the War on Drugs policies, the “Get tough on crime” policies, and the propaganda about people of color all have influenced the way mainstream society thinks about blacks. The author found that mainstream society believes that black people commits more crime and uses more drugs than white people, so therefore blacks deserved to incarcerated. However, Michelle Alexander disproves in “The New Jim Crow” that blacks commit more crimes than whites, the drug usage rates are the same between both races, propaganda has influenced the way mainstream society views blacks and that the “War on Drugs” and the “Get Tough on Crime” was policies targeted towards inner cities and people of color with the intent to enslave them in the criminal justice system by giving them felonies in which people of color are disenfranchise by society.
The War on Drugs and Mass Incarceration The United States incarcerates at a higher rate than any other country in the world. In fact, the U.S. alone is home to 25% of the world’s prison population; this, however, wasn’t always the case. The rapid growth of the U.S. prison population can be traced two decades back to the declaration of the War on Drugs by President Ronald Regan in the early eighties and previously mentioned by President Richard Nixon. In an effort to reassure White Americans’ of their elite positioning in the underlying racial caste system in a time where inner-city communities were facing major economic collapses, the Regan administration called for the reinforcement of the sale, distribution, and consumption of illicit drugs,
The high incarceration rate of Black Americans has pervasive and chronically negative stigmas regarding the social and economic vitality of the Black American community, such as a lack of democratic participation and violence within urban communities (Burris-Kitchen & Burris, 2011). According to Forman Jr. (2012), some of 5 the negative affects of systemic racism of Black Americans born into the hip-hop generation who have been convicted include the ineligibility of public assistance programs such as health care, food stamps, public housing, student loans, and some employment opportunities. Additionally, many of the individuals suffering from the stigma of incarceration come from backgrounds of disadvantage such as single parent homes, low
In her book, The New Jim Crow Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander who was a civil rights lawyer and legal scholar, reveals many of America’s harsh truths regarding race within the criminal justice system. Though the Jim Crow laws have long been abolished, a new form has surfaced, a contemporary system of racial control through mass incarceration. In this book, mass incarceration not only refers to the criminal justice system, but also a bigger picture, which controls criminals both in and out of prison through laws, rules, policies and customs. The New Jim Crow that Alexander speaks of has redesigned the racial caste system, by putting millions of mainly blacks, as well as Hispanics and some whites, behind bars
ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY Alexander, M. (2012). The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Rev. ed.). New York, NY: The New Press. Michelle Alexander in her book, "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" argues that law enforcement officials routinely racially profile minorities to deny them socially, politically, and economically as was accustomed in the Jim Crow era.