Alexander, M. (2010). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New
Everyday growing up as a young black male we have a target on our back. Society was set out for black males not to succeed in life. I would always hear my dad talk about how police in his younger days would roam around the town looking for people to arrest or get into an altercation with. As a young boy growing up I couldn’t believe some of the things he said was happening. However as I got older I would frequently hear about someone getting killed by the police force. It still didn’t click but I knew what was happening. Growing up police brutality wasn’t broadcasted as much as it should’ve have been. This then made me think about how to improve police brutality not only dealing with African Americans but also with other colored skinned people.
The intention of my research is to expose the racist tactics in the criminal justice system that have been camouflaged. I am prepared to explain how racism contributes to the vast number of incarcerated African Americans, and other minorities. The criminal justice system has created and perpetuated racial hierarchy in the United States, and has done so throughout history. I propose the question: Are minorities being targeted within the Criminal Justice System? African Americans are criminalized and targeted because of their skin color, and it is not fair. This argument connects to the theory of Law in the Book vs. Law in Action, and relates to how this type of discrimination from the law affects society. In particular, the way the Law is written in codes, statutes, judicial opinions that supposedly support the righteousness of justice, is a far cry from the way the Law actually operates. Despite substantial progress in recent years, racial discrimination remains a significant problem in the United States. I will prove this argument with the help of various peer-reviewed articles, and non-scholarly article that examine this unequal behavior.
Also race and gender plays a big factor when sentencing offenders. For example, in the book it states that African Americans receive harsher sentences on average than white or Asian American offenders and males have a longer sentencing than females. This is just causing people to be in jail who shouldn’t really be there and this is also the reason why jails are overpopulating. Someone who has possession of drugs should not be going to jail longer than someone who committed murder. Our system of sentencing isn’t so rational and fair when it comes to sentencing.
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.
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 author calls this a “Racial Caste System” because it discriminates like it never has before, since it allows anyone who is labeled a “felon” to be legally discriminated against with housing, education, employment and voting rights. Since many more people of color are made felons than white by mass incarceration, racial discrimination is a powerful as it was under slavery or under the post-slavery era of Jim Crow
Incarceration rates have skyrocketed over the last forty years-- which could be interpreted as good or bad. There have been many questions surrounding incarceration directly being linked to a drop in crime rate: both positive and negative. One pair of economical authors, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, approached this concept from a mostly-positive outlook: the high incarceration rate was responsible for one-third of the crime drop in the 1990’s (123-124). The authors use high incarceration rate along with innovative police strategies, plummet of the crack market, and aging in the population to make a base argument of reasons for crime drop; however, the main argument they utilize is the legalization of abortions (Levitt and Dubner 120-121,
In Invisible Men, Becky Pettit introduces the theory that many Americans are seemingly “invisible” due to the fact that most national surveys, such as the Current Population Survey do not include incarcerated persons which lead to skewed statistics that are misrepresentative of the United States population. Pettit argues that the exclusion of inmates from national surveys creates discrepancies in United States economic, political, and social conditions. Further, Pettit argues that mass incarceration has hidden racial inequalities for many years.
Unfortunately, there are racial disparities in the United States in the legal system. Prison sentences imposed on African American males in the federal system are nearly 20 percent longer than white males convicted of similar crimes. The 1994 Crime Bill signed by President Clinton established mandatory minimum sentences. African American and Latino offenders sentenced in state and federal courts face greater odds of incarceration than white offenders who are in similar situations and receive longer sentences than whites in some jurisdictions. Research has shown that race plays a significant role in determination on which homicide cases resulted in death sentences.
Courts are a major evaluative stage of the criminal justice system and we rely on these courts to determine our outcomes based on the crime that was committed. Today, there is more diversity of leadership in the court system but, race still plays a role in the outcome of the offender. This could range from petty crimes being committed like traffic infractions or facing the death penalty based on the race of the offender or victim. This paper will examine the three types of disparities that cause biased sentencing in the courts. The three types of disparities are race, social class, and gender and these all play a huge factor when making a decision based off an offender.
This critical reflection will focus on the piece “African American Women, Mass Incarceration, and the Politics of Protection” by Kali Nicole Grass. Grass currently works at the University of Texas and Gross’ research focuses on black women’s experiences in the United States criminal justice system between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In this journal, Gross uses her historical research background and her research work to explain how history in the sense of race and gender help shape mass incarceration today. In this journal, Gross’s main argument is to prove that African American women are overpopulating prisons and are treating with multiple double standards that have existed for centuries. To prove this argument, first Gross starts off by
To begin with, the overall rates of incarceration in America is staggering as a whole. The population has grown exponentially during the last few decades, raising each and every year due to more opportunities in crime committing. Not only the raising rates occur on a federal level, but a state level as well. Discovered by John Hagan, a research professor and co-director of the center on law and globalization at the American Bar Foundation, and Traci Burch, assistant professor in political science at Northwestern University and Research professor at American Bar Foundation, that between the years 1920 and 1975, the state and federal prison population represented about 1 in 1,000, where as by 2001, .69 percent of the population was in prison
For defendants who were sentenced to prison, there generally was no gender disparity in the length of the sentence. There were disparities in sentencing for some individual types of crime, however. For example, female defendants convicted of theft received longer prison sentences than male defendants convicted of theft. Women convicted of “other property offenses” – a category of crimes that includes arson, receiving stolen property and breaking and entering — received shorter prison sentences.
Fast forward to the present day, we have the Ferguson, Mike Brown of Emmitt Till’s still occurring in our justice system. A person must view the criminal justice threw a godly telescope to see the inequalities that exit, and need to come to the forefront of our government, and the population worldwide. Sentencingproject.org statistically show that African American men, women, and juvenile are arrested more often than any other races across the nations. This report will prove, and argues that racial disparity in the justice system is at large in our system. This research paper will further explain, and presents evidence that display the presence of racial bias in the criminal justice system in America.
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.