America has the largest justice system in the world. America also has the highest incarceration rate with over 2 million people in prison. African Americans account for approximately 40 percent of those inmates. Why is the incarceration rate so high for young black males? By examining the data and demographics, and the causes and consequences a greater understanding will be gained as to why these disparities exist.
while the overall U.S. rate of incarceration is up very substantially, this shift has fallen with radically disproportionate severity on African Americans, particularly low-income and poorly educated blacks. Indeed, the result has been a sharp overrepresentation of blacks in jails and prisons. In 2007, black males constituted roughly 39 percent of incarcerated males in state, federal, and local prisons or jails, though representing only 12 percent of the total adult male population. White males, on the other hand, constituted just 36 percent of the male inmate population in 2007, well under their 65.6 percent of the total male population. The Hispanic population, which constitutes about 20 percent of the total inmate population, is also overrepresented but is much closer to its relative share of the total population of about 16 percent ( ).
“Tomorrow 's future is in the hands of the youth of today” is not a particularly new sentiment. But what is new, what has become a pressing question, is what is to become of the future if our youth are behind bars instead of in schools? Youth today are being pushed into the criminal justice system at an alarming rate. This issue is known as the school to prison pipeline ─ the rapid rate at which children are pushed out of schools and into the criminal justice system. The school to prison pipeline is a term that came into use by activists in the late 1970’s and has gained recognition throughout the years as the issue became more prominent in the 1990’s. Some activists view policies meant to “correct” misbehaviors, especially in regards to Zero Tolerance policies and the policing of schools, as a major contributor to the pipeline. Others believe that the funding of schools and the education standards are to blame for the rapid increase of youth incarcerations. While the school to prison pipeline affects every student, African American students, both male and female, are more often the victim of discrimination in education. The school to prison pipeline must end, and the trend must be reversed.
The School to Prison Pipeline was chosen as a topic because it is relevant, controversial and dramatically affecting the nation’s youth. The school to prison pipeline proposes youth to choose between an education and jail, though the decision has often already been decided for them. A child should never be pushed away from education for any reason. School is the one place society depends on to guarantee that youth discover world of knowledge, their identity and a safe haven away from home. This issue is no secret as it is very obvious to see in almost any school district that the pipeline is an ongoing practice. The author takes an interest in this topic being a strong advocate of academics. The author disapproves of the pipeline effect as it shows detrimental damages to educational systems and young children across the nation. From the earliest school age to the last, youth are being stripped of their educational privileges due to an unfair system.
Currently, African Americans make up nearly one million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population. Nearly one in three African American males born today can expect to serve time in prison during their lifetime (NAACP, 2015). A central issue in today’s society is the rate of criminalization of African American males. There are many speculations on this topic; however, the central one is when a crime is committed then there is “time” to be served. However, the time served by African American males is disproportionate than that of Caucasian counterparts for the exact same crime. The lack of concern that is presented over the clear overrepresentation of African American males in the prison system is appalling.
Many jail cells and prisons hold more African Americans than colleges and universities. This is a major problem for younger men and women that have to witness this because if this is all they are exposed to then this will be all they know. It does not only affect younger children or teenagers but close family members, wives, and parents. The mass incarceration of African Americans is becoming the norm for our men and women because the ¨white man¨ or the government is subliminally fighting to oppress African Americans and hold them back from any chance of prosperity that they have.
Less than 4% of the total student population enrolled in America’s colleges and universities (one of the smallest subgroups based on race/ethnicity and gender.) According to the Schott Foundation, the graduation rate of Black males in CT is between 51%, whereas White males in CT have an 83% graduation rate—a 32% gap. Moreover, the achievement gap between Black women and Black men is the lowest male-to female ratio among all racial/ethnic subgroups. (Strayhorn 1). The disproportionate and devastating failure of Black males in the educational system has further ramifications in our social system as black males are over-represented in the criminal justice system: “African-American males represent approximately 8.6 percent of the nation’s K-12 public school enrollment but make up about 60 percent of all incarcerated youth” (Smith 2005). In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the academic crisis of adolescent black males, one must examine the research findings surrounding the Black-White achievement gap, black male standardized test scores, black male literacy achievement, and the socio-cultural achievement barriers that obscure black males’ self-perception of themselves as readers. “According to many standardized assessments, educators in the U.S.
Blacks and whites who have dropped out of high school are ten times more likely to be incarcerated than those who have attended college. An African American man with some college education, the lifetime chance of going to prison actually decreased slightly. A black man born in the late 1960s who dropped out of high school has a 59% chance of going to prison in his lifetime whereas a black man who attended college has only a 5% chance. White men born in the late 1960s, the lifetime risk of imprisonment is more than ten times higher for those who dropped out of high school than for those who attended some amount of college.
The unfortunate truth of incarceration during the era of mass imprisonment is that African Americans are seven times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. Blacks were more likely than whites to go to prison, at least since the 1920’s (Western 2006: 4). By analyzing the rates of prison admission for blacks and whites at different levels of education, it shows that class inequalities in imprisonment increased as the economic status of low-education men deteriorated. Among young black men, particularly those with little schooling, the level of incarceration was increasingly high. So, why is it that young African American men are incarcerated at much higher rates than their counterparts?
The trend of African American males between the ages of 25 and 29 has seen a dramatic increase of incarceration. Attention has been focusing on areas of housing, education, and healthcare but the most prominent problem for African American males is the increase in the incarceration rate. African American males between the ages of 25 and 29 incarceration rate has been thought, by many, to be caused by economic factors such as under employment or unemployment, poor housing, lack of education, and lack of healthcare. Yet, others believe it is due to the imbalance of minorities within the criminal justice system, such as judges, lawyers, and lawmakers.
In his book “Punishment and Inequality in America” Western discusses the underlying racial disparities that have lead to a mass incarceration in the United States. He states that incarceration rates have increased by a substantial amount. The race and class disparities viewed in impromesment are very large and class disparities have grown by a dramatic amount. In his book he argues that an increase in mass incarceration occured due to a significant increase in crime. The increase in mass incarceration can also be correlated with urban street crime that proliferated as joblessness in inner-city communities increased (Western, 2006). He also states that an increase in incarceration rates may be due to the changes in politics and policy which have intensified criminal punishment even though criminal offending did not increase. Although these are substantial reasons as to why incarceration has increased significantly in the US there are many underlying issues. The incarceration rates amongst young black men have increased the most in the United states, black men are more likely to go to prison than white and Hispanic men (Western, 2006). This may be largely due to factors such as unemployment, family instability, and neighborhood disorder which combine to produce especially high rates of violence among young black men in the United States (Western, 2006). A rise in incarceration rates may also be largely due to to increased drug arrests which represent the racial disparity.
The successful education process starts with the family in the home and community, and continues in school and throughout life. The extent to which Black parents become actively involved in the education of Black male children is the extent to which the destruction of potentially millions of young Black men will stop. When young Black men realize they have become expendable, are we ready for their reaction? The United States does not tolerate young Black men being unproductive or counter-productive to the goals of mainstream society. Black males are suspended, expelled and failed in schools at rates that are two to five times higher than students of other races and go to jail at rates five to ten times higher than people of other races ().Jackson, Phillip. “The Massive Failure of
There are many different causes for the disproportionate minority male incarceration rates in the U.S. There is irrefutable evidence that blacks comprise a disproportionate share of the prison U.S population.The United States cannot and should not tolerate laws that systematically target communities of color. 1.6 million children have a father in prison.The war on drugs , racial profiling, and the school to prison to pipeline system is causing minority males to be incarcerated. A solution to reduce the male minority incarceration rate is programs such as HOPE , that help black youth and men create goals and find something to do with life.African Americans are incarcerated six times the rate of whites. Some contributing factors are the “ Get Tough on crime and war on drugs policies , the zero tolerance policies at school adverse affect on black children African Americans adverse affect on black children. “African Americans constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.5 million incarcerated population nearly 44% of the entire prison population.
The past quarter century has seen an enormous growth in the American incarceration rate. Importantly, some scholars have suggested that the rate of prison growth has little to do with the theme of crime itself, but it is the end result of particular U.S. policy choices. Clear (2007) posits that "these policy choices have had well-defined implications for the way prison populations have come to replicate a concentrated occurrence among specified subgroups in the United States population in particular young black men from deprived communities" (p. 49).
The article digs deeper into the problem of incarceration and the decreasing concentration in school by African American students, which has become a problem in the attainment of education in the U.S. There is a gap in the number of whites graduating at the end of schooling and the Blacks with the dropout increasing each