How does the US criminal justice system create and maintain racial hierarchy through mass incarceration?
In the book, The New Jim Crow, written by Michelle Alexander she asserts that The US criminal justice system is using the Drug War to cover the mature “Jim Crow”. Alexander states, “ Mass incarceration in the United States had, in fact, emerged as a stunningly comprehensive and welldisguised system of racialized social control that functions if a manner strikingly similar to Jim Crow,”(Alexander, 4). What Alexander is asserting is that the US criminal justice system is the new age of Jim Crow, which was the period after slavery. Jim Crow Laws defined by Alexander is “ The backlash against the gains of African Americans in the Reconstruction Era to reverse Reconstruction,” (Alexander, 30). Mass incarceration is another term for enslavement, except for this time, the US has found a way to not only deny the rights of African African Americans as it did in the Jim Crow Era, it found a way to deny the rights of all minorities within the States. Once you are a convicted felon it is very hard and almost nearly impossible to be successful. Alexander claims, “ Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps, and other public benefits….are suddenly legal. As a criminal you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect than a Black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow.” Essentially, she is asserting that because you “decided” to go and sell dope that you automatically become a lesser man, much like the excuse used for slavery, you are 3/5 of a man. Most of the minorities in the US criminal justice system do not deserve to be there, and are innocent. However, because of how many minority stereotypes are believed by everyone ...
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