The Influence Of Mass Incarceration In America

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To leaders, workers, and interns of CALPRIG, Mass incarceration is defined as a large number of individuals being imprisoned. This definition gives no indication of a certain race, class, or religion being jailed, but we have seen incarceration in America be defined repeatedly by these very topics. Starting in the Nixon era, politicians starting advertising themselves as being, “tough on crime” to win elections and continued to cramp down on all drug related crime. Since this time, we have seen millions of people indicted on drug charges and our prison system is reaching maximum capacity. With multiple new drug laws, it has been made somewhat easy for police to arrest anyone who is involved with drugs and the majority of arrests have come …show more content…
According to Michelle Alexander in the New Jim Crow (2010), some people believe that a virtual, “drug exception” now exists on the bill of rights. This has allowed police to use their force to arrest anyone with any sort of drug relationship with no questions asked. While some people may testify that this is a good thing to keep the streets safe, authorities have used this freedom to derail families and ruin lives of mostly African-American and Hispanic people of the lower class. “So-called consent searches have made it possible for the police to stop and search just about anybody walking down the street for drugs (Alexander 2010:66). This ability to search nearly anyone has allowed police to search people in areas they know will have drug offenders. For example, authorities would regularly sweep buses and public transportation to search anyone they would like and while these searches only accounted for about seven arrest for every one-hundred buses, the authorities were not questioned (Alexander 2010). This is an example of police operating geographically as they know were the lower class and minorities live and work, so they target these areas because of the likeliness they have to find …show more content…
According to,(), the U.S. government saw crack cocaine being used mainly by lower class African Americans and they used their power to punish them although crack cocaine is the same as powder cocaine just in rock form. The punishment for crack cocaine became 100-1 in regards to the sentence for powder. They government also made a mandatory sentence for crack users which caused the incarceration rates to skyrocket. Multiple judges did not agree with these mandatory sentences as they felt they were sending low level offenders away for years although they did not deserve it. The ratio of crack to powder is 18 to 1 today which shows us that the U.S. still will not accept them as equals mainly because that powder cocaine is more used by whites while crack still is more popular with African-Americans. This blindness towards discrimination has led to more African-American in prison systems today then were enslaved in 1850

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