In eleven states, at least 1 in 20 black adults are in prison. Research shows that prosecutors are twice as likely to pursue a mandatory minimum sentence for black people as for white people charged with the same crime. One in nine black children and one in 38 Latino children have an incarcerated parent, compared to one in 57 white children.
Introduction A late time of mass incarceration has prompted incredible rates of detainment in the United States, especially among probably the most helpless and minimized groups. Given the rising social and financial expenses of detainment and firm open spending plans, this pattern is starting to switch (Petersilia and Cullen, 2014). Toward the commencement of the 21st century, the United States ends up confronting the huge test of decarcerating America, which is in the meantime an enormous open door. Through decarceration, the lives of a vast number of individuals can be immensely enhanced, and the country all in all can desert this limited and dishonorable time of mass detainment.
There are self-report studies as well, that suggest lower levels of black overrepresentation in criminal offense appear to be too involved in serious crimes. Most data comes from a wide variety of the general population. According to NACCP, 5 percent of the world’s population are in the Unites States and has 25 percent of world prisoners. That is, 1 in every 31 adults are in prison, jail, or on probation. The NACCP shares statistical data on race and incarceration.
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.
Beside restorative justice, mass incarceration acts as another solution to decrease the amount of crime, yet it should be limited. There has been a longstanding debate over the effectiveness of correctional institutions. Some argue that incarceration deters offenders while others argue that the experience of being incarcerated causes individuals to continue in their life of crime. According to Bruce Western, a professor of sociology and director of the Malcolm Wiener Center, the drastically increase amount of incarceration resulted from problems such as harming prisoners, families, and social groups. He indicates, “Black are seven times more likely to be incarcerated than whites, and large racial disparities can be seen for all age groups and
Michelle Alexander, similarly, points out the same truth that African American men are targeted substantially by the criminal justice system due to the long history leading to racial bias and mass incarceration within her text “The New Jim Crow”. Both Martin Luther King Jr.’s and Michelle Alexander’s text exhibit the brutality and social injustice that the African American community experiences, which ultimately expedites the mass incarceration of African American men, reflecting the current flawed prison system in the U.S. The American prison system is flawed in numerous ways as both King and Alexander points out. A significant flaw that was identified is the injustice of specifically targeting African American men for crimes due to the racial stereotypes formed as a result of racial formation. Racial formation is the accumulation of racial identities and categories that are formed, reconstructed, and abrogated throughout history.
“African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population.” The majority group of this statistic are people who come from african american backgrounds. The fact that black people are to make up nearly half of the prison population alone, really conveys the rate at which they are being arrested. Black men are often victims of racial profiling by police. They are targeted by police officers, and security guards, and are accused of crimes unrelated to them, simply on the basis of their skin color.
People of all different races and ethnicities are locked behind bars because they have been convicted of committing a crime and they are paying for the consequences. When looking at the racial composition of a prison in the United States, it does not mimic the population. This is because some races and ethnicities are over represented in the correctional system in the U.S. (Walker, Spohn, & DeLone, 2018). According Walker et al. (2018), African-Americans/Blacks make up less than fifteen percent of the U.S. population, while this race has around thirty-seven percent of the population in the correctional system today.
The Huffington Post says, “The U.S. incarcerates nearly seven times as many people, measured as a share of population, as Canada does. People of color are disproportionately represented in the American prison population and are typically punished more severely than white peers for the same crimes” (Daniel Marans). Racism against people of color has caused them to be represented poorly in society as potential criminals, especially black. MIT informs its viewers that “according to the United States census Bureau, blacks are twice as likely to be poor compared to other races, and eight times as likely to be imprisoned. Blacks are also three times more likely to be convicted of drug violations than whites.
The political debate for and against felon disenfranchisement has compelling arguments on both sides. In the US, over 6 million felons are barred from voting due to laws that prevent felons with a sentence to vote (Chung). The number of imprisoned has been growing over the past 40 years, as the increasing number of imprisoned felons is directly correlated with an increasing number of disenfranchised felons. However, a more jarring statistic reveals that most disenfranchised felons in the United States are of a racial or ethnic minority. Based on information from the 2010 US Census Bureau, about 36 percent of disenfranchised felons are African American.
Statistics prove that Mandatory Minimums affect minorities disproportionately. In fact, African Americans are over 10 times more likely to enter prison for drug offenses than their Caucasian counterparts despite both racial groups using drugs in equal amounts. This shows the racial bias of the Justice System at work by using Mandatory Minimums to punish minorities with harsher sentences. Blacks and Hispanics make up 74.4 percent of the people convicted of drug charges while only making up less than 30 percent of the population. Indicative of this widespread problem, 39.4 percent of convictions in 2011 involved Mandatory Minimum Sentencing (United States Sentencing Commission 148).
In the article, Unwinding Mass Incarceration by Stefan Lobuglio and Anne Piehl, they argue that unwinding the mass incarceration “well neither be cheap nor easy, and to be done responsibly will require a new infrastructure of coordinated community-based facilities and services that can meet evidence-based incarceration needs while also ensuring public safety.” Hence, their argument is clean-cut with evidence in the article to back up their argument of unwinding the mass incarceration. Similarly, a solid fill of a concluding statement upon the unwinding of the mass incarceration as stated in the article, “requires much more than stopping current practices or reversing course by mass commutations and early release programs.”
Since incarceration leads to political and civil disenfranchisement in the United States, the mass incarceration of black and brown men and the consequent loss of rights to participate in the civil society and its processes are especially concerning. The authors argue that the interplay of racial residential segregation, low-quality schooling, and exposure and vulnerabilities to crime and violence so prevalent in these segregated neighborhoods have established a “public school to prison”