The Case Of Ruffn V. Commonwealth Essay

945 Words May 6th, 2016 4 Pages
This statement was proved with the statistics mentioned earlier about an "estimated three out of four young Black men...can expect to serve time in prison (Alexander, P.7)." Alexander brings up some issues about discrimination by the police against Blacks, as well as how the court system can discriminate, especially if you 're Black and a felon. She brings up how after the Civil War and the eradication of Slavery, there were still instances where slavery was still considered acceptable. For instance, Alexander names the infamous case of Ruffn v. Commonwealth, an 1871 case where the Virginia Supreme Court decided that there was an exception to the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery, but had the fascinating clause that "convicts had no meaningful rights at this time and no effective redress," and were actually considered to be "slaves of the state (Alexander, P. 31)." Additionally, the author mentions that during this time there were what was known as "vagrancy laws" which prohibited freed slaves from not working, thus making it a crime to not have a job (Alexander, P.28). She states that "nine Southern states adopted vagrancy laws - which essentially made it a criminal offense not to work and were applied selectively to Blacks - and eight of those states enacted convict laws allowing for the hiring-out of county prisoners to plantation owners and private companies," and that ""all free negroes and mulattoes over the age of eighteen" must have written proof of a…

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