Black Women In Prison Essay

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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. …show more content…

Although there may have been mild attempts to cease racism directed towards certain groups, these same efforts are absent within racial groups based on group members’ various ranges of skin tones, which Jill Viglione and other authors discuss in their article “The Impact of Light Skin on Prison Time for Black Female Offenders” (250). As numerous studies show, black women in particular make up a large proportion of women arrested and put in prisons within the country. Women with lighter skin tones receive lighter sentences than darker women, along with those who possess other attributional European features, such as straight hair and narrow noses. These individuals tend to also be more included in mainstream society, “thus afforded greater opportunities and privileges” and “more likely to be members of higher social class and achieve a higher occupational and educational level than their darker skinned counterparts” (251). These European features are seen as more attractive, as women with “blacker” features like curly hair and dark skin are stereotyped as lazy and “welfare queens,’ which are ultimately determinants of prison sentences and

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