Examining The Prison System In America Criminology Essay

Get downing in the mid-1970s, the prison system in America has had a high rate of enlargement in footings of inmates. The War on Drugs thought swept the state. Crack cocaine was inexpensive, which made it the top pick in poorness afflicted countries such as the interior metropoliss, popularly known as the ghetto. The chief occupants in these countries were African American work forces and a high figure of those incarcerated were African Americans. When they were arrested, they were typically given the maximal sentence and many were charged with purpose to sell, irrespective of the sum of drugs they possessed. In 1989 the figure of Black captives surpassed the figure of White persons. By 2003, some 832,400 Black Americans were in the states prisons and gaol system compared to 665,100 White persons and 363,900 Latino males. African Americans account for 12 per centum of the U.S. population, though an estimated 38.9 per centum of all captives in the U.S. are African American. In the late ninetiess about 9 per centum of the entire black population in the U.S. was under correctional supervising compared to 2 per centum of the White grownup population. Some 33 per centum of the African American male population between 20 and 29 old ages of age were either in prison, gaol, or on probation or word. Over half of the drug offenses in 1998 represented were African American. In each twelvemonth, about 6 in 10 gaol inmates were racial or cultural minorities. In 2002 inkinesss made up 40 % of the gaol inmate population ; Hispanics, 19 % ; and Whites, 36 % . ( Bureau of Justice Statistics 2005 ) .

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Harmonizing to the Justice Department study released in July 2003, the U.S. prison population surpassed 2 million for the first clip. Since 1990, the U.S. prison population, already the universe ‘s largest, has about doubled. Harmonizing to a study by the Justice Policy Institute in 2002, the figure of Black work forces in prison has grown five times the rate it was 20 old ages ago. Today, more Afro-american work forces are in gaol than in college. Harmonizing to the Bureau of Justice Statistics ( 2003 ) , an Afro-american male child born in 2001 faced a 32 per centum opportunity of being imprisoned at some point in his life, compared to a 17 per centum likeliness for a Latino male child and a 6 per centum likeliness for a white male child. U.S. captivity rates by race, in June 30, 2006 were 409 White persons per 100,000, 1,038 Latinos per 100,000, 2,468 Blacks per 100,000. Looking at merely the males by race, and the captivity rates become even more awful. In June 30, 2006 were 736 White males per 100,000, 1,862 Latino males per 100,000, 4,789 Black males per 100,000. If you look at males aged 25-29 and by race, you can see what is traveling on even clearer, In June 30, 2006 there were 1,685 White males ages 25-29 per 100,000, 3,912 Latino males ages 25-29 per 100,000, 11,695 Black males ages 25-29 per 100,000.

“ Geting people to acknowledge that there is a job with overrepresentation of minorities in the system has been a major obstruction to making anything about it, ” said James Coldren, president of the John Howard Association, a prison watchdog group based in Chicago. The bigger job is with the societal and economic disparities that exist in our society, which in bend lead to disparities in the condemnable justness system. “ If you truly want to turn to disparity, you truly have to look beyond the condemnable justness system. You have to look at the hazard factors. This is n’t a job that ‘s merely a condemnable justness job, ” harmonizing to Authority Senior Research Analyst Phillip Stevenson. Research workers have found that African Americans have the highest hazard factors, with greater exposure to poorness, household force and instruction. African Americans and Hispanics were much more likely than Whites to be imprisoned for drug discourtesies. 27 per centum of the Hispanics and 25 per centum of the African Americans were imprisoned for drug discourtesies, compared to merely 15 per centum of the Whites ( Bureau of Justice Statistics 2005 ) .

From 1990 to 1998, increases in drug wrongdoers accounted for 25 per centum of the entire growing among Afro-american inmates, 18 per centum of the growing among Latino inmates, and 12 per centum of the growing among white inmates ( Bureau of Justice Statistics 2000 ) . Data collected on prison rates by ethnicity at cardinal determination points in the system is critical to attempts aimed at cut downing disproportional minority representation. It is the first measure in placing a job and making a scheme to convey alteration. Reform on drug policy and Torahs such as acquiring rid of compulsory sentences, decreasing penalty for drug related discourtesies and acquiring rid of three-strikes policies can greatly contruibute to the issue of prison overcrowding.

In 1986 Congress enacted compulsory minimal sentencing Torahs, which force Judgess to present fixed sentences to persons convicted of a offense, irrespective of blameworthiness or other mitigating factors. Federal compulsory drug sentences are determined based on three factors: the type of drug, weight of the drug mixture ( or alleged weight in confederacy instances ) , and the figure of anterior strong beliefs. Judges are unable to see other of import factors such as the wrongdoer ‘s function, motive, and the likeliness of recidivism. Although Congress intended compulsory sentences to aim “ king pins ” and directors in drug distribution webs, the U.S. Sentencing Commission studies that merely 5.5 per centum of all federal cleft cocaine suspects and 11 per centum of federal drug suspects are high-ranking drug traders. The U.S. Sentencing Commission and the Department of Justice have both concluded that compulsory condemning fails to discourage offense. Furthermore, compulsory lower limits have worsened racial and gender disparities and have contributed greatly toward prison overcrowding. Compulsory sentences are responsible for directing record Numberss of adult females and people of colour to prison.

Prison Overcrowding More than 80 per centum of the addition in the federal prison population from 1985 to 1995 is due to drug strong beliefs. Racial Injustice In 1986, the twelvemonth Congress enacted federal compulsory drug sentences, the mean federal drug sentence for African Americans was 11 per centum higher than for Whites. Four old ages subsequently, the mean federal drug sentence for African Americans was 49 per centum higher. Womans Between 1986 and 1996, the figure of adult females in prison for drug jurisprudence misdemeanors increased by 421 per centum.


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Harris, Othello. Miller, Robin. Impacts of Incarceration on the African American Family. Transaction Publishers, 2003. Vol. 6, No. 1. Retrieved on February 15

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Undertaking America. 2008 Retrieved on February 15

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.project.org/info.php? recordID=115

Race and Ethnicity. Incarceration and Minorities. Retrieved on February 15

hypertext transfer protocol: //law.jrank.org/pages/12131/Race-Ethnicity-Incarceration-minorities.html


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