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Diversity in Prison

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Diversity in Prison The late twentieth century is seeing a rise in racial conflict in the United States as well as on the universal stage in a broad-spectrum (Phillips & Bowling, 2002). Statistics indicate that racial/ethnic minorities, particularly black males, face a disproportionately high risk of incarceration in the United States. This determination is made by assessing the negative impact that incarceration can have on individuals, their communities, and the integration of minorities into the nation’s larger social, economic, and political landscape (Yates, 1997). Discrimination in the incarceration of blacks clearly stands out as today’s (Greenfield, 2011) most critical issue in the study of race, crime, and justice. The…show more content…
Durkheimian theory holds that racial discrimination and income inequality indirectly affect imprisonment through crime. This is grounded on the assumption that racial discrimination and/or lower socio-economic status that reduce legitimate economic opportunities, leads to criminal activity, which, leads to imprisonment. In contrast, conflict theory suggests that these variables have both direct and indirect effects. That is, racial composition and income inequality will have a significant effect on imprisonment when controlling for crime. This latter effect is attributed to the response of the economically and politically powerful to the real or perceived threat posed by culturally dissimilar groups (cultural conflict theory). The present study analyzes the existence and magnitudes of the direct and indirect effects of race and income inequality on the level of imprisonment. Other sociological theories suggest that when controlling for the level of serious crime, incarceration rates are directly affected by extra-legal factors. The Cultural Conflict and Neo-Marxist theories suggest that the existing social structure produces a culturally dissimilar class of individuals, such as the impoverished, the unemployed and the oppressed minority, who pose a threat, whether real or perceived, to the interests of the economically and politically powerful (Freiburger, 2010).The relationship between race and
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