Incarceration In America

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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…show more content…
Criminal legislation and incarceration have long been used as a means to control "powerless" and disadvantaged groups in America. These groups are socially and politically neglected and only receive attention when they are perceived to be a threat to the larger society and then the attention comes in the form of control and punishment (Page, 1993). The control generally manifests itself through crime legislation and the punishment through incarceration. By the end of 2005, there were more than 7 million people under some form of criminal justice supervision (Glaze & Bonczar 2006; Harrison & Beck, 2006a). With such a large and growing number of people under correctional control during a time in which crime rates had either fallen or were stabilizing raises important questions about the purpose and consequences of this institutional intervention. While "tough on crime" policies may be effective in incapacitating offenders, little consideration has been given to the impact this mass incarceration effort has had on offenders following their release from prison. Every year more than 600,000 people are released from jails and prisons to face the challenge of re-entering society in a productive capacity (Geiger, 2006; Travis, Solomon, & Waul, 2001). Due to the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, reintegration is often met with a host of daunting and unnecessary barriers. Black Americans comprise a major segment of the neglected population and when they are released from prison the barriers to reintegration are often compounded by the stigma of their racial classification and the mark of a criminal
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