The New Jim Crow

1697 Words7 Pages
Victor Ferreira
The New Jim Crow
Chapter 2 Incarceration rates in the United States have exploded due to the convictions for drug offenses. Today there are half a million in prison or jail due to a drug offense, while in 1980 there were only 41,100. They have tripled since 1980. The war on drugs has contributed the most to the systematic mass incarceration of people of color, most of them African-Americans. The drug war is aimed to catch the big-time dealers, but the majority of the people arrested are not charged with serious offenses, and most of the people who are in prison today for drug arrests, have no history of violence or selling activity. The war on drugs is also aimed to catch dangerous drugs, however nearly 80 percent of
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The drug war is racially defined, and that is why there is a huge number of African-Americans and Latinos in prisons and jails all across the country. The rate of incarceration for African American drug offenders dwarfs the rate of whites. Even though whites make up the majority of illegal drug users, three-fourths of the people who are imprisoned for drug offenses are black or Latino. Black men have been admitted to state prison on drug charges at a rate that is more than thirteen times higher than white men. Arrests and convictions for drug offenses, not violent crimes, have propelled mass incarceration among African-Americans and Latinos. They are convicted of drug offenses at rates out of all proportion to their drug crimes. The system of mass incarceration has operated in a way to effectively sweep people of color off the streets, lock them in jails, and then release them into an inferior second-class status. When it comes to racial bias in the drug war, research indicates that it was inevitable, and a public consensus was constructed by political and media elites that drug crime is black and brown. Once this "black drug crime" became conflated in the public consciousness, the black men would be the primary targets of law enforcements. An 18 year old black kid who was arrested for possession of more than fifty

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