In the 1970s the United States entered the era known as mass incarceration, the byproduct of the drug war. The War on Drugs changed how society handled drug dependency, diverting the problem from public health to criminal justice. Since the Nixon administration, the political stance on being tough on crime has resulted in various laws and policing practices that heavily criminalized drugs to point in which the prison population in the United States increased from 300,000 people in 1972 to 2.3 million today (Barish, DuVernay, Averick & DuVernay, 2016). The epidemic of mass incarceration corresponds to a variety of public health issues such as mental illness, increased violence within society, increased incidence of addictions, and increased incidence of chronic illnesses (Drucker, 2013). …show more content…
Even upon release, those who have gone through the criminal justice system are subjected to negative health outcomes as a result of the adversity they face from society (Cloud, Parsons, & Delany-Brumsey, 2014). The War on Drugs accounts for the staggering two thirds rise in the federal prison population and the roughly fifty percent increase of inmates in state prisons, in fact since 1980 there has been a nearly 1,100 percent increase in the amount of drug offenders incarcerated (Alexander, 2012, p. 60). Yet not all races and communities have been caught in this epidemic equally. Impoverished, low income men of color have been more strongly impacted by the War on Drugs and mass incarceration. Discrimination and biased policing practices are the chief social causes that have resulted in the unfair disparity of men of color being more strongly affected by mass incarceration and the eco-social theory, despite its faults, is the most fitting model for researchers to utilize in assessing this social
The article explores the historical context of drug laws and policies in the U.S. and their disproportionate impact on black communities. It emphasizes the negative effects of the war on drugs on black families, communities, and overall socio-economic mobility, perpetuating the enduring inequalities faced by Americans of color. The article relates to course concepts such as the effects of residential segregation, which has contributed to the development of underclass communities in the United States, and how these communities are disproportionately affected by the criminal justice system. Additionally, the article highlights the systemic racism and discrimination that has existed in the United States, perpetuating the inequalities faced by people of color. It discusses how drug laws have been used as a tool to target and criminalize people of color, while white drug users and sellers have largely been ignored or given lesser punishments.
In her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, author Michelle Alexander explores complex themes of oppression, discrimination, and how the United States criminal justice system has been disproportionately affecting Black communities for decades. Alexander outlines and analyzes the rise and fall of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and mass incarceration, as well as the War on Drugs and how the prison system continues to put Black men in bondage. Alongside this, she explores the limitations that incarceration places on Black men, the impact this has on their lives, and how society can work to combat the system. The novel is particularly relevant to the field of community psychology, as it highlights several ways that incarceration has affected the well-being and communities of those in bondage.
One of the major causes of the mass incarceration epidemic has been the War on Drugs, which was officially declared by President Nixon in the 1970s. Alexander notes that, despite the White House’s aggressive rhetoric, the 1960s and 1970s were a period of relatively low drug-related crime. In the forty years since the War on Drugs began, it is overwhelmingly young black men who have been arrested, convicted, and incarcerated. The racial disparity in the criminal justice system does not correspond to actual rates of drug use between blacks and whites; in reality, it is due to a legal framework that allows law enforcement to target minorities (e.g., racial profiling and stop-and-frisk) and harsh prison sentences for minor drug offenses (e.g., mandatory minimum drug sentences and three-strikes laws). As our criminal justice system offers little to incarcerated individuals in terms of rehabilitation,
For this semester, we read The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. The book talks about how minorities face, especially black men, being treated like second-class citizens by the criminal justice system and this leading to our modern mass incarceration problem. Alexander goes as far as to say “We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it” (2). This is shown by the War on Drugs.
Over the past 40 years U.S. incarceration has grown at an extraordinary rate, with the United States’ prison population increasing from 320,000 inmates in 1980 to nearly 2.3 million inmates in 2013. The growth in prison population is in part due to society’s shift toward tough on crime policies including determinate sentencing, truth-in-sentencing laws, and mandatory minimums. These tough on crime policies resulted in more individuals committing less serious crimes being sentenced to serve time and longer prison sentences. The 1970s-1980s: The War on Drugs and Changes in Sentencing Policy Incarceration rates did rise above 140 persons imprisoned per 100,000 of the population until the mid 1970s.
Over the course of history several laws have been instilled to increase incarceration rates and preserve them. Beginning with Jim Crow Laws between 1876-1965 which were heavily enforced by police, if they weren’t conducted any black men or women would be thrown in prison along with any activist. President Richard Nixon ran from 1969-1997 declaring a “war on drugs”. In his speech he mentioned, “The problem has assumed the dimensions of a national emergency” (Nixon, Special Message to the Congress on Drug Abuse Prevention and Control). These words suggested a state of national emergency conversely meaning a crisis that involves the countries security and safety.
It is so easy for minorities to take on the stance of a victim, it is equally as easy for them to take on the stance of the aggressor. With everything going on in this Country, and in the World today, it isn't hard to understand the reasoning behind some of the situations that have been going on. Cops are getting away with Murder, Literally, and the war on poverty is seeming to turn into something like a war on the poor people themselves. Mass Incarceration is becoming so frequent that people seem to graze over the realities that are plaguing our very existence.
Mass Incarceration America has the highest incarceration rate in the world, outstripping Cuba, Rwanda, Thailand, Costa Rica and Ukraine. The United States is the world’s leader incarceration. There are currently five-thousand prison facility, which in habit over 2 million prisoner. There has been a 500% increase over the past thirty years. These numbers include, federal and state prison, and local jails. .
While America holds 10% of the world's population, America also holds 25% of the world's jailed population. That number is baffling because one in every 4 people are jailed. This comes rise in jailing trickles down to the war on drugs in the early 70’s. In June of 1971, President Richard Nixon declared a “war on drugs”. He increased law enforcement agencies and mandatory sentences for people charged with drug related crimes.
The United States has a larger percent of its population incarcerated than any other country. America is responsible for a quarter of the world’s inmates, and its incarceration rate is growing exponentially. The expense generated by these overcrowded prisons cost the country a substantial amount of money every year. While people are incarcerated for several reasons, the country’s prisons are focused on punishment rather than reform, and the result is a misguided system that fails to rehabilitate criminals or discourage crime. This literature review will discuss the ineffectiveness of the United States’ criminal justice system and how mass incarceration of non-violent offenders, racial profiling, and a high rate of recidivism has become a problem.
Over the decades, mass incarceration has become an important topic that people want to discuss due to the increasing number of mass incarceration. However, most of the people who are incarceration are people of color. This eventually leads to scholars concluding that there is a relationship between mass incarceration and the legacy of slavery. The reason is that people of color are the individuals who are overrepresented in prison compared to whites. If you think about it, slavery is over and African Americans are no longer mistreated; however, that is not the case as African Americans continue to face oppression from the government and police force.
The amount of mass incarceration in the United States as reached an all time high over the years. Mass Incarceration is the incarceration of a person or race based off of them being different and can be identified as a trend among law enforcements. These tensions have reached a certain extent and has received the attention of American citizens and the nation’s government. The laws of the United States seems fair, however with the enforcement of these laws, specific groups are targeted and abused by them daily.
Primarily, Alexander links mass incarceration’s cause of the War on Drugs. Her secondary cause for this phenomenon appears after this war begins; many defendants cannot obtain “meaningful legal representation” (Alexander 17), a claim which widely goes undisputed. Meanwhile, the argument that “convictions for drug offenses —not violent crime—are the single most important cause of the prison boom in the United States” (Alexander 102), a repetitive argument in her book, sparks controversy. Scholars, such as Pfaff, believe that writers distort the role of drug convictions due to focusing on only
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.
isn’t the only thing people believe needs to change; the reasons for arrests have been criticized by many. America incarcerates more citizens for drug related crimes than any other place in the world. Of the roughly 200,000 in federal prison, 52% are being held for drug crimes and only 8% are for violent crimes, such as: murder, assault, and robbery (Waldman, 2013). Many believe that the “War on Drugs” must become less aggressive because of its large contribution to the prison population. The distribution of prisoners by race has also raised concern among Americans.