Effects Of Mass Incarceration In African Americans

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The Injustices of Mass Incarceration of African Americans

Since 1980, the United States has seen an unprecedented rise in incarceration rates. The United States is only 5% of the world population, yet it has 25% of the world’s prisoners. Currently, the US is the world’s leader in incarceration with 2.3 million people currently in jail and prisons. That is a 500 percent increase over the last forty years. These incarceration rates, mostly which runs independent of crime rates, are suggested to be the result of policy changes over the last 30 to 35 years. Michelle Alexander quotes that “violent crime rates have fluctuated over the years and bear little relationship to incarceration rates, which have soared the past three decades despite whether
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There are other components too large to even to start discussing, such as the laws, Three Strikes, Truth in Sentencing, and Mandatory Minimum Sentencing, that have been established, hyper-policing, and no-knock warrants. However as a whole, these all affect African American individuals and their communities, which is why mass incarceration is an injustice. Not only is mass incarceration an example of systematic racism, which is evident due to more minorities receiving harsher sentences and being the main targets, but it also has detrimental effects on them as individuals and their families. These effects include heightened health disparities, destruction of the Black family, increased barriers to employment and human capital investment. Concerning effects on family, African American families were nine times more likely than White families to have at least one parent incarcerated. The kids within these families are more likely to live in poverty, to enter the foster care system, be on government assistance, and end up in prison themselves when compared to their peers who did not have an incarcerated parent. Furthermore, once released, formerly incarcerated African Americans, particularly men, have a hard time seeking employment, are stripped of their rights, are forced to live in poverty because all opportunities are blocked and are relegated to the lowest rungs …show more content…
Mass incarceration also creates a social hierarchy with Blacks being at the bottom because of being labeled a drug addict/user and a criminal, which in Rawls’ perspective is an injustice because its placing certain individuals higher than others. Rawls would view the situation the same as he viewed distribution of wealth and income, except the moral inquiry would now be the distribution of a negative good which would be punishment among individuals pertaining particularly to certain racial groups. Therefore, if Rawls proposed a solution, it would be that although there would still be some type of punishment institution to house those who are a severe threat to the community in order to protect society, we would choose arrangements that would respect the humanity of each individual. Also he would also examine the “social division of responsibility” between society and individuals. For example when we are about to arrest or convict an individual for possessing or deal drugs, one must also consider everything to ensure that each individual continues to face a decent opportunity for a good life. When making policies, citizens and lawmakers should secure fair conditions for each individual based on the severity of the crime because one never knows that that individual’s life might turn out to be their life one day.

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