The Disparities Among Minority Inmates in the American Prison System

1787 Words Jun 10th, 2013 8 Pages
The Disparities Among Minority Inmates in the American Prison System

Melvin Kenney

ENG 122

Dr. Beckwith-Howard

March 18, 2013

Is the system rigged for the majority, or for those that break the law? Why are minorities more likely to be incarcerated? Is it because of the lack of education and parental support, living in poverty, socially and behaviorally challenged?
Race-based differences in individual treatment are some of the most difficult challenges in
American society today and these are particularly apparent in the arena of criminal justice.
Racial disparity in the criminal justice system is widespread and it threatens to challenge the principle that our criminal justice system is fair, effective and just.
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High minority male imprisonment contributes to high minority child poverty several years later. There are two main mechanisms for this. The first is lower family earnings, especially in two –parent household with little to no education. Poverty poses a serious challenge to a child's ability to succeed in school. Research has suggested that living in poverty in the early childhood years can lead to lower rates of school completion (Brooks-Gunn and Duncan, 1997). Further, growing up in poverty can negatively affect a child's physical health as well as his or her working memory, due to the chronic psychological stress of living in poverty (Evans and Schamberg 2009). According to Brooks Gunn and Duncan, some 18 percent of minority children under age 18 were living in poverty. The percentage of these minority children living in poverty ranged from 5 to 52 percent depending on race/ethnicity and living arrangement.
The second is more complex: high minority male imprisonment is associated with a rise over time in the proportion of minority children living with mothers who have not graduated from high school. I go on to say, “That high school dropouts are overwhelming minority males, and disproportionately represented in our state and federal prison system. High school dropouts are far more likely than graduates to be unemployed and underemployed, they will earn less money than those that do…