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African Americans In The Prison System Essay

One of the many social problems here in America are the high rate of African Americans placed in the prison system. According to NAACP, from 1980 to 2008, the number of people incarcerated in America quadrupled-from roughly 500,000 to 2. 3 million and out of the 2. 3 million incarcerated 1 million are African Americans. African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites. 1 out of 3 African American males are expected to go to prison in their lifetime compared to the 1 out of 17 white males who are most likely to end up in prison as well.

There are racial disparities held in the criminal justice system where African American males are most targeted. Police are the first to look at when talking about the criminal justice system. Law enforcement agencies prioritize high crime areas which happens to be neighborhoods that is heavily populated with minorities. It is speculated that the rise of arrests amongst minorities are due to increased police presence. One matter of concern from law enforcement is racial profiling. People of color are overrepresented among those who are stopped, searched, and arrested.

Most studies of traffic stops find that discovery of weapons and drugs is no more likely to be found among white drivers than among African American drivers. One study has also found that racial profiling was significantly higher when African American males are driving in white, affluent neighborhoods. The Fourth Amendment requires that the police have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been taking place or is to be committed before stopping a suspect. If the police reasonably suspect the person is armed and dangerous, they may conduct a frisk, a quick pat down of the person’s outer clothing.

In New York, the stop and frisk program was perceived to have convey racial bias. In 2007, the NYPD hired the RAND Corporation to examine stop and frisk data. The RAND reports confirmed that minorities (Blacks and Latinos) were stopped far more than whites. According to NYCL, 2011 held the most New Yorkers stopped by police at 685,724 times. Out of that number 54% of those stops were black, 33% were Latino and 9% were whites. Now although the number decreased of how many times a New Yorker was stopped there is still a big portion of black people being held at the highest percentage.

The latest statistics in the first quarters of 2016 (January-September) 10,171 New Yorkers were stopped and 54% were black, 29% were Latino and 10% were white. As presented black and Latino communities continue to be the overwhelming target of stop and frisk. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act in 1994 (also known as Crime Bill of 1994) was the largest crime control bill in the United States that has said to destroy communities of color and quicken mass incarceration.

It was designed to include “three strikes” mandatory life sentence for repeat offenders, money to hire 100,000 new police officers, $9. 7 billion in funding prisons, and an expansion of death penalty eligible offenses; in addition, to 6. 1 billion to prevention programs. The crime bill causes and immediate increase in the number of people in prison. At the beginning of President Clinton’s first term there were 847,000 people in prison. By the end of his second term in 2000, there were 1,334,000 Americans in prison.

In 2000, black inmates represented an estimated 46% (572,900) of all inmates with sentences of more than 1 year, while white inmates accounted for 36% (436,500) and Hispanic inmates made up 16% (206,900). When separated by age groups, black males in their twenties and thirties are found to have the highest incarceration rates at 9. 7% than compared to other racial groups. In the same age group, Hispanic males were at 2. 9% while white males were about 1. 1%. African American males are consistently arrested for violent crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

African Americans are roughly six times more likely to be arrested for violent crimes than whites. For drug related offenses, African American males have been arrested for drug crimes, yet African Americans are no more than likely than whites to sell or use drugs. In 2002, blacks represented 80% of the people under the federal crack cocaine laws and served considerably more time in prison for drug offenses than did whites, even though more than 2/3 of crack cocaine users in the U. S are white or Hispanic. The War on Drugs in the 1970s is a prime example of this.

African American arrest rates had increased significantly compare to white arrest slightly increasing. By the end of 1980’s, African Americans were more than five times more likely than whites to be arrested on drug related offenses. According to NAACP, African Americans serve just as much time in prison for a drug offense (58. 7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61. 7 months). The “black drug user” is a stereotype that mainly targets young black males but recent studies show that African American young people are less likely to use illegal drugs that any other racial group in the United States.

African American males are most likely to receive more sentencings compared to whites who receive less time in prison with the same offense and/or comparable criminal histories. In 2005 and 2012, black men received roughly 5% to 10% longer prison sentences than white men for similar crimes. Although blacks make up only about 13% of the U. S. population, as of 2009, blacks constitute 28. 3% of all lifers, 56. 4% of those serving life without parole, and 56. 1% of those received life without parole for offenses committed as a juvenile.

As or 2012, there is research that shows that about 65. % or prisoners serving life without parole for nonviolent offenses are black. In certain states the percentage of blacks serving life sentences are as high as 60%. The highest incarceration rates reside southern states such as Louisiana, Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina. This is ironic due to fact that southern states were where slavery was most prevalent. In Georgia and Louisiana, the proportion of Blacks serving life without parole is as high as 73. 9 and 73. 3%. The mass incarceration of black males is part of a $20 billion prison industry.

Corporations had an agreement with states and the federal government to manage prisoners for profit. Companies and businesses provide goods and services to government prison agencies for profit. They contract cheap prison labor, building contracts, medical services, and purchases of products and services in exchange for profit. As the prison population increase, a rising rate of incarceration helps support small and large businesses such as providers of furniture, transportation, food, clothes and medical services, construction and communication firms.

There has been speculation that the private prison industry has been incarcerating people who mainly live in impoverished communities for minor crimes so they can use the as free labor. Representations of criminalization of African American men in media and pop culture help perpetuate the image. For an example, several studies show that news systematically portrays black males as criminals and whites as a victim of a crime. Another study done in the Los Angeles area found that blacks were overly represented as perpetrators of a crime and underrepresented as victims of a crimes on television news.

In contrast to how white Americans are viewed on television which has found to be underrepresented as perpetrators and overrepresented as victims of crime. There are long term negative effects that happen to black males who end up in prison. The reason for putting criminals in jail is to punish those as they will later respect the rights of others and follow the norms associated with the responsible citizenship. In this society, we were taught that the purpose of punishment was to prevent future crime.

But we seem to not treat former inmates as full members of society. In 34 states, people who are on parole or probations cannot vote. In 12 states, a felony conviction means never voting again. In addition to not voting many former inmates are not able to find a job once released from prison. Not only have they been out of the workforce for years but their criminal record prevents them for getting a job afterwards. Because of the lack of resources provided to former inmates lead to an increase rates of recidivism.

There is high percentage of black males being reincarcerated and this could be due to the lack of a more effective rehabilitation/intervention programs for to help improve employment skill, educational enhancement, and substance abuse treatment that can help black many especially the young males. The National Summit on Justice Reinvestment and Public Safety released a report in 2011 that states the local and state government spends more money on building more new prisons and not investing in rehabilitation programs.

Another result of black males being placed in has a long-term effect on their families. The wives, girlfriends and children of these inmates suffer collateral damage. By 14, roughly around 25% of African American children have experience a parent – mainly fathers – being imprisoned for some period of time. Studies show that the children do less well in school, most likely to drop out of school and develop behavioral problems. Some might suffer from migraines, asthma, high cholesterol, depression, anxiety attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder and extreme case homelessness.

As far as the women partners may experience depression and economic hardship. In conclusion, mass incarceration among black males is a big social problem here in America. Over the past 40 years, the prison population has increased substantially. As a result of disparities in arrests and sentencing, this upsurge has disproportionately affected black communities. Just to reinstate, black men are imprisoned six times the rate of white males. It is estimated that black men have a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison in their lifetime.

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