The Effects of Mass Incarceration in the United States

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Mass Incarceration and its Impact

Mass incarceration is a process whereby criminal and felons are imprisoned for justice but for a longer time. The imprisonment is usually longer than any other country in the world that practice incarceration for criminals. The criminals who are incarcerated are later on released to permanent second-class status; this is whereby their fundamental human rights like; the right to vote, freedom of legal discrimination in employment, exposure to public services and the privilege of serving as juries are all stripped down. This system is often used to control people at an early age who are pictured to be suspect of a particular crime. Criminologist predicted that a stable rate of incarceration would be evident in the united states, during that time before the 1970s a ratio of 100:100,000 of people were incarcerated, this rate remained constant until 1970 when there was a rapid increase in the rate on incarceration of about 600 percent from 1960s to 200. Increase in incarceration rate was widely geared by President Richard Nixon regime which rolled out a crackdown on drugs, and it has been growing steadily under every president who succeeded President Richard Nixon. The high rate of incarceration in the United States does not mean that the US has a high crime rate; the crime rate in the US is lower than the international norm. Back in the 1950s, in the 1960s is where mass incarceration tracing begins where law and order movement started to be vibrant. Segregationist began feeling unrest of how to condone the tide of public opinion and opposition into their system. Therefore segregationist decided to adopt a strategy whereby people who will be involved in the protest and nonviolent civil disobedience will be regarded as lawbreakers and criminals. Anyone who could violate segregation laws then that will lead to a crackdown on lawbreakers and protestors since violation of segregation laws amounts to a threat to social order. This law and order continue evolving as time went on, later on, segregation was declared unconstitutional. Segregationist tried to appeal to the working class whites who were afraid of the African American gangs by using a method called get-tough rhetoric. Persuading working-class white was successful, but unfortunately, later on, there was a backlash against the civil rights movement which occurred at a time when there was an economic collapse in communities of inner city communities. The economic collapse resulted in the loss of jobs because industries were deindustrialized. Since the source of income of a large population of individuals was cut, it led to too many youths getting into crimes to earn a living; this caused an increase in the rate of crime in the inner city communities nationwide. When this backlash reached a fever pitch, it caused the get tough movement to grow uncontrollably which resulted to an immediate call for incarceration, and that’s the time when a war against drugs was declared (Michelle Alexander 2014).

Systematic Racism and its Effects

Systematic racism is real! Systematic racism is the anti-black practices like giving political-economic power to the whites without justice, the continuing economic and resource distribution inequalities along racial lines and also ideologies and attitudes are created to propel white people more than blacks. Chuck D said "Assimilation and melting into the American pot has always been easier [for white people]. It's tough for black folk to melt into the pot. When we melt into the pot, we usually become charred crust at the bottom. We have to be able to persevere by different tactics and methods." Some of the critical indicators that make us know that systematic racism is real are; wealth (white families' hold 90%, Latino families 2.3% and black families 2.6%), another factor that depicts systematic racism is employment, education, criminal justice, housing, surveillance, and healthcare. Several measures have to be adopted to end systematic racism;

Measures to End Systematic Racism

End to criminalization and dehumanization of black youth- according to the office of civil rights a large number of black youths are potentially exposed to corporal punishment and also outside the school black youth’s life chances are limited because of criminalization. A large number of black youths are arrested. Also, gender, violence against black girls are not given much attention by the US. Regime (Collins, Patricia Hill. 1998.)

Court surcharges, money bail, and fees- this is also another thing that needs to be changed to end systematic racism. Low-income earners spend an average of 23days in the cell before been arraigned in court; the main reason is that they are not able to afford to pay bail. People who spend many days in cell end up losing the job and their children are taken away. Also black, people are more likely to be denied bail and are kept to stay in jail pretrial than the white defendants who are facing the same legal force of the law.

Using past criminal records to determine eligibility to exercise personal freedom- using past criminal records to determine eligibility for exercising someone’s freedom should also be changed to end systematic racism. America is not equitably punishing citizen across all groups present in America. A large number of people in America who reside in cages are blacks and Latinos. The main reason why a large population of blacks and Latinos living in cages is mainly caused by this policy of using past criminal records to determine eligibility for housing. A ratio of 1:3 of the black population is potentially at risk of been arrested before they reach 23 years old.

War on black immigrants should end- grounds to deportation were expanded to also 20 offenses for both criminal and noncriminal under the law of Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) and the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). President Obama also considered this law to be unjust during his speech in November 2014 and he also termed administration's immigration enforcement priorities as "felons" not 'families'

Work Cite

Childress, Sarah. "Michelle Alexander: 'A System of Racial and Social Control.'." Frontline (2014).

Collins, Patricia Hill. Fighting words: Black women and the search for justice. Vol. 7. U of Minnesota Press, 1998.

November 13, 2023

Crime Government Law



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