Stigma Of Crime Essay

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With few exceptions, the “criminal” has never been viewed as a noble person. Instead they are viewed as someone, or if they are dehumanized enough then something, that has committed a wrong against society. Being convicted or even accused of a crime can have a negative impact on a person. A mere accusation can damage their reputation, and enter them into police information systems, while a conviction may also disqualify them from jobs, government programs, and even voting. These consequences make association with crime undesirable, both because of their power and reach. The stigma of criminal creates the power for the government to marginalize undesirable groups. This stigma allows laws to be passed that make otherwise outrageous practices…show more content…
Michelle Alexander demonstrates in her book The New Jim Crow that systemic criminalization extends to other minority groups as well. The extent of this criminalization is shown through the control the criminal justice system exerts on minority lives. Alexander shows in The New Jim Crow that 1 in 3 young African American men are under the control of the criminal justice system through jail, prison, probation, or parole (9). Additionally, black men are 6 times more likely than white men to be incarcerated, and Latino men are 2.5 times more likely to be incarcerated than white men (Coalition on Homelessness, 56). The increased exposure to the criminal justice system that black and Latino men face not only threatens their future through the establishment of a criminal record, but it also reinforces ideas that black and Latino men are more criminally disposed than white men. These stereotypes only push black and Latino men with criminal records further away from the mainstream economy by making their applications for jobs and housing appear less attractive. These stereotypes also extend to people who do not even have criminal records, which marginalizes entire minority groups. This loss of influence comes from a variety of factors, mainly lower wages, a lessened ability to vote because of criminal
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