Social Issue On Race And Imprisonment In America (Reaction Paper Sample)
Each student will sign up individually or with a partner to lead a reading discussion at least once during the semester. You will be responsible for critically examining the readings and coming up with thought-provoking questions, discussion points and/or activities. Each group should prepare for a 20-minute presentation. Discussion leaders should use PowerPoint or Prezi or some such platform. Presenters should construct a set of discussion questions to guide their presentation. Discussion questions must be fully formed, typed, and handed out to all classmates and Professor. Groups/individuals can use current events, YouTube clips, etc to supplement the main points of the readings. Presenters must send their outline to the professor no less than two days before the presentation for feedback.source..
IMPRISONMENT & RACE
Imprisonment and Race
There are startling statistics that show deeply ingrained societal issue on race and imprisonment in America today. According to (NAACP, 2018), African Americans constituted 2.3 million, or 34%, of the total 6.8 million correctional population in 2014. These statistics show an underlying problem that is masked by law enforcement that targets people of color. There is an undeniable correlation between race and rate of incarceration in the United States. Since the 90s, there has been an influx of some inmates in correctional facilities around the country. This followed the bill which was signed by Bill Clinton, Violent Crimes Control and Law Enforcement Act. The bill gave grants to states to construct new correctional facilities and encouraged longer sentences. If the criminal system were fair, there would be a relatively higher rate of whites incarcerated if demographics were fairly representative. Alternatively, if minorities were incarcerated at the same rates as whites, prison and jail populations would decline by almost 40% (NAACP, 2018). For example, African Americans and Hispanics make up about 32% of the American population, but they make up 56% of incarcerates people by 2015 (NAACP, 2018). These statistics show that there is an apparent problem that has plagued the criminal justice system and it has targeted minorities within lawful provisions.
There is a systemic problem in the criminal justice system that targets people of some communities primarily non-white population. National Survey of Drug Use and Health showed that about 17 million whites and 4 million African Americans reported using illicit drugs in the previous month (NAACP, 2018). From these statistics, the whites who would be incarcerated for drug-related crimes should be at least four times that of the blacks, but unfortunately, this is not the case. A black offender is likely to be jailed for a crime on drugs, but a white offender might be given a warning. There have been rebuttals to these trends which are not necessarily illegal or ethical because the law enforcers cite the various factors that go into apprehending an offender including but not limited to a previous criminal record, repeat offender among others. Are these the justifiable reasons why African Americans are six times more likely to be incarcerated than whites (Morsy & Rothstein, 2016)? The police force is predominantly white, and it seems to target African Americans and arraign them in court. The prosecution advocates for heavier sentences for these suspects whose defense team might not be very competent. Eventually, more Africa Americans find themselves behind bars often for mundane crimes which the white people commit and are likely to be given a pass on the same.
It is apparent that the systemic racial issue in the criminal justice system signifies a wider societal problem rooted in historical and economic factors. First, the lower income quintile which is predominantly the people of color live in specific areas where they have to fight for resources to just make ends meet (Fletcher, 2015). In these very areas, more police are deployed and are classified as high crime areas, and therefore the police are more vigilant, and they arrest people even for small mistakes. This leads to higher incarceration of people from specific areas. The jury is often made up of peers but based on each case's facts, it is hard to overlook the facts and issue lighter sentences. These communities also live in the very areas with higher school drop out rates and streets run by criminal gangs. Therefore, rather than some multifaceted solutions adapted to help these communities escape crime, they are incarcerated in big numbers.
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