Racial profiling, poverty and high crime rates are the major contributors to high incarceration rates for African Americans compared to their percent of the general population. Besides social and economic isolation, African Americans have been marked as inherently criminal with the war on drugs and crime targeting them even when the statics shows they are less likely to be in possession of cocaine for example (Walker, Spohn, DeLone, 2012).
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.
In the eyes of Martin Luther King Jr., Justice within a society is achieved through the implementation of just laws. Furthermore, “just laws are regulations that have been created by man that follow the laws of God for man” (“Clergymen’s Letter”). Any law that does not correspond with the ideals of God and morality are considered to be unjust or a form of injustice. King identifies that injustice is clearly evident within the justice system. This injustice can truly be seen through the misconduct imposed toward the African American community. 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.
Michelle Alexander in her book, "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" argues that law enforcement officials routinely racially profile minorities to deny them socially, politically, and economically as was accustomed in the Jim Crow era. She first supports her claim by chronicling America 's history of institutionalized racism and systematic disenfranchisement of African Americans. Then, she discusses America 's War on Drugs that disproportionately targets minorities and finally as she examines the hardship faced by felons she compares and contrasts Jim Crow Laws to mass incarceration. Alexander surmises that mass incarceration is designed to maintain white supremacy and sustain a racial classification system. Alexander 's book is relevant to my research paper because she provides evidence that the criminal justice system is rooted in racism and directly linked to the racist agenda of the white supremacist.
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. This stereotype makes it easier for those in the justice system to see all black men as people who need to be locked up. Racism (whether conscious or subconscious) makes jurors especially willing to put minorities behind bars by overpowering their doubt and blinding them to the
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
Alexander, M. (2010). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New
In the introduction, Michelle Alexander (2010) introduces herself and expresses her passion about the topic of how the criminal justice system accomplishes racial hierarchy here in the United States.
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
There are more African Americans in prison now, than there were enslaved in 1850. These individuals are not in prison because they are committing more crimes than their white counterparts, but because of a discriminatory system that targets african americans. Blacks can commit the same crimes as whites, but are more likely to be imprisoned and or receive a steeper sentence. This disproportionate racial sentencing has been a growing issue the United States for four decades, and started with the Reagan Administration's War On Drugs. Private prison organizations lobby for harsher punishments, and profit from the influx of inmates. With more African Americans in jail, this has had a crippling effect on the black community. The children of these inmates grow up without one of their parents, they to do poorly in school and have negative view on police officers and the law.
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.
Alexander focuses on how African American communities have become more vulnerable to the arrests. Authorities will target these communities even though this is not where the crime is happening. Lastly, many people are labeled ‘felons’ for life, even though they have only committed one victimless crime. Michelle Alexander summarizes her opinion by saying, “We have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it.” Even though America has taken many small steps to move forward from segregation, black individuals are locked up behind bars and will struggle for the rest of their lives to escape from the ‘felon’ title. “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander has showcased her opinion, and ultimately stretched my opinion. I can confidently say that I agree with Michelle Alexander’s opinion and conclusion of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration of
Alexander argues that the practice of racial injustice and segregation is due to the existence of mass incarceration. She goes into great detail in her writing, explaining why she believes mass incarceration is the issue and how history show us that America will always find a way to separate racial communities. This book would serve as an excellent reference to anyone studying racial injustice, mass incarceration, plea bargain coercion, racial history in America, and more. The beauty of this book is not only Alexander’s fact finding revelations, is the fact that she isn’t saying anything unheard of or anything that has not been realized by member of poor black communities, she simply found a way to articulate the issue in a way the demanded consideration from readers in and outside the communities being discussed. Alexander finds a way to expose the true nature of the criminal justice system using the people’s voice and research. “The New Jim Crow” is definitely a must read for anyone interested or involved in the criminal justice
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.
We live in a society where ethnic minorities are target for every minimal action and/or crimes, which is a cause to be sentenced up to 50 years in jail. African Americans and Latinos are the ethnic minorities with highest policing crimes. In chapter two of Michelle Alexander’s book, The Lockdown, we are exposed to the different “crimes” that affects African American and Latino minorities. The criminal justice system is a topic discussed in this chapter that argues the inequality that people of color as well as other Americans are exposed to not knowing their rights. Incarceration rates, unreasonable suspicions, and pre-texts used by officers are things that play a huge role in encountering the criminal justice system, which affects the way