The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world with about 2.3 million people in prison. According to Vitanna.org’s statistics, an estimated one million of these prisoners are African American. 12.3 percent of the population is black, yet over 43 percent of America’s prisoners are black. This disparity is certainly unnatural, seeing as how African Americans are no more likely to be criminals than whites. Black men are overrepresented in prisons because of the unfortunately common stereotype that they are all remorseless criminals.
The Color of Justice There are countless injustices in America’s judicial system because of racism, whether it be subconscious or completely conscious. The racism deeply embedded within the American Judicial System needs to be radically reconstructed. Racism has to be recognized and then legally obliterated in order for African American men and women to ever receive a fair treatment by our justice system. The same subconscious racism that results in unfair and prejudicial treatment by judges and juries starts young, at home and in schools.
Taking all of the studies, background knowledge, and statistics into consideration, I do believe that there is an unproportionate amount of black men serving time in the criminal justice system. It has been proven that men of color are particularly likely to be imprisoned, in comparison to their non black counterparts. “African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months). (Sentencing Project)” The sentencing of black men is commonly dealt with in a harsher manner, than with other races.
In her book, The New Jim Crow Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander who was a civil rights lawyer and legal scholar, reveals many of America’s harsh truths regarding race within the criminal justice system. Though the Jim Crow laws have long been abolished, a new form has surfaced, a contemporary system of racial control through mass incarceration. In this book, mass incarceration not only refers to the criminal justice system, but also a bigger picture, which controls criminals both in and out of prison through laws, rules, policies and customs. The New Jim Crow that Alexander speaks of has redesigned the racial caste system, by putting millions of mainly blacks, as well as Hispanics and some whites, behind bars
There are numerous issues that deal with the American criminal justice system, but the two I found most prominant that occur on a daily basis is the abuse from police officers and clear racism shown by the American criminal justice system. To begin, racism as we know is a prejudice directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. In the criminal justice system African Americans are directly targeted and punished in a higher more aggressive way, than say someone who is caucasian and committed the same exact crime. Racism is more often than not, the motive for official misconduct. There are examples of racism from every known region in the United States, spanning across centuries from slavery to
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.
Is it fair that an African American man is sentenced up to life in prison for possession of drugs when Brock Turner is sentenced to only 14 years, later to be reduced to six months for sexually assaulting an unconscious women. The judiciary system are believed to have a high african american incarceration rate as a result of discrimination. At a presidential debate on Martin Luther King Day, President Barack Obama said that “Blacks and whites are arrested at very different rates, are convicted at very different rates, and receive very different sentences… for the same crime.” Hillary Clinton said the “disgrace of a criminal-justice system that incarcerates so many more african americans proportionately than whites.”
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.
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.
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.
Affirmative Action Reader pg. 244 “ those many in our society that are darker, poorer, more identifiably foreign will continue to suffer the poverty, marginalization, immersion and incarceration.” Statistics are staggering Racial Disparities in Incarceration African Americans constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population, they are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites, what’s shocking is that one in six black men had been incarcerated as of 2001 and if the trends continues one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime. I am for affirmative action, as I believe that when the late President John F Kennedy signed the affirmative action on March 6th 1961,
Incarceration rates in the United States are extremely higher than other countries. According to Schlesinger in her article “The Failure of Race Neutral Policies: How Mandatory Terms and Sentencing Enhancements Contribute to Mass Racialized Incarceration” there are, “Currently, one and a half million people are incarcerated in either state or federal prisons” (Schlesinger). This number is very high compared to other countries. A large majority of the people incarcerated are African Americans.
Not all trials are impeccable. The issue of racial disparity has been a serious problem of the United States. Especially in the criminal justice system category. For in criminal justice system today racial inequality is increasing not receding. This is because today, our justice system remotes the idea of fair trials and discriminate many African Americans and other minorities as well without realizing it.
The racial disparity can be accounted for through the mass incarceration of black offenders in terms of sentencing with mention of a racial caste in place, not allowing those of color to move from their position. As such, mass incarceration has led to prisons being filled with an overpopulation of those who are black than any other race. Interesting enough, it has been proven through surveys that those who are white are more likely to engage in drug crime rather than those who are black. I found this to be an interesting point to discuss as it raises the question as to just why are more people of color incarcerated at a growing rate than