The New Jim Crow : Mass Incarceration Essay

997 Words Mar 6th, 2016 4 Pages
As of 2016, there are 7.4 billion people on the planet. Of that 7.4 billion, the United States accounts for roughly 321 million people. Would it surprise you, that although the U.S is home to less than 5% of the world’s population, we have 25% of the world’s overall incarcerated population? Our country has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Michelle Alexander writes in her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, that the impact of the drug war has been astounding. In the last few decades, the U.S. population of incarcerated citizens exploded from around 300,000 to more than 2 million, with drug convictions accounting for a majority of the increase. The War on Drugs functions more realistically as a war on drug users; not only does it work as a way to systematically oppress minorities, but it has also failed to significantly reduce rates of addiction or drug use. Michelle Alexander coins the term “The New Jim Crow”, in order to compare the War on Drugs and mass incarceration to the Jim Crow laws that were abolished in the mid-1960’s. The Jim Crow laws were established within 15 years of the overthrow of slavery. These laws acted as a new legal form of exploitation for black people, by restricting their right to vote, attend public schools, and use public resources. The War on Drugs was introduced in the late 1960’s, almost directly after the Jim Crow laws were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. However when…

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