Paper Example on Mass Incarceration

Published: 2023-01-29
Paper Example on Mass Incarceration
Type of paper:  Argumentative essay
Categories:  Judicial system Penal system
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1644 words
14 min read


Mass incarceration is also referred to as the prison boom or mass imprisonment. Incarceration is when people are held into prisons for them to rectify their behaviors. According to a study conducted by ACLU, mass incarceration provides private prisons with an extremely high profit. (Aviram 41)

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Imprisonment denies individuals their freedom to live a free life denies them the joy of being around their loved ones, and also it affects the government's resources. The government has to invest more in building more prisons, recruiting more officers to take care of the increasing numbers of prisoners and also it invest more on the upkeep of these prisoners. For instance, 7 % of the budget in California was used in 2013 to 2014 on the correction process. Sixty-four thousand dollars was used in 2016 for each prisoner. (Moore 15) The population of prisons in the United States has proven to be the leading worldwide.

According to Michele Alexander, the author of The New Jim Crow book, thinks that the end of Jim Crow led to another era of colorblindness where people use the justice system to discriminate the black people. It is applied since discrimination based on skin color, or social background is not acceptable. Black people get to be named criminals once they are taken to prison, and once here, all the discrimination method used earlier are now applied freely in the name of disciplining a criminal which is legally acceptable. (Moore 15)

The prisoners face many types of discriminations such as denied good government jobs, proper housing, excellent education and also they are denied the right to excising their rights in voting the leaders of their choice among others. It was indeed similar to what black Americans went through in the era of Jim Crow. This, therefore, shows that the discrimination of race is still in practice only that it has been redesigned. (Moore 15)

This mass incarceration in California is thought to have resulted from the rise in poverty level among the blacks and also due to lack of proper education. The California government came up with a law against drugs users in California. This law is mostly thought to target the people of color since they were the most affected ones. (Moore 15)

However, most people assumed that the fight against drugs usage was mainly because of the effects caused by cocaine and thus the government was determined to eradicate its usage which primarily affected the people of low living standards in which most of them were the black Americans. Their assumptions were however wrong based on media reports of the 1980s and that of 1990s, which provided no evidence that the government established this rule on the fight against cocaine. (Moore 15)

This law was launched by Ronald Reagan, who was the president even before this issue became a big deal both in media and among the poor black neighborhoods that was back in 19882. Several years just after this law on drugs was launched, Crack started to increase more rapidly among the poor neighborhood of California, which was majorly occupied by the blacks and later spread across the cities. Ronald Reagan government in 1985 publicized the rise of cocaine crack as a way of supporting the drugs war law. The media within a night was full of black's images that symbolized cracked whores, dealers, and babies.

This type of images gave a more impression of black people in the eyes of white Americans. These images symbolized how the whites had a negative attitude and view of the black race. This law on the fight against drugs used in the United States was, however, seen as a plan by the government to fight the black race who resided in the States. (Moore 15)

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was thus identified to be the people behind the crack cocaine supply among the poor neighborhoods of black Americans, which they accepted the claims in 1998. The CIA went further to admit that they prevented the law enforcers from conducting their investigations on drugs networks that were illegal, which were aiding in funding covert fight in Nicaragua.

Regardless of them admitting to aiding in the supply of those illegal drugs, there is no evidence that they did it on purpose to destroy the black Americans. This incident leads to a rise in mass imprisonment of many black Americans since they were the most affected by the usage of crack cocaine. Up to date, the United States has been said to be the leading in incarceration worldwide.

The most shocking truth is that it is even beyond countries like Iran, China, and Russia. Taking an example of Germany, 93 individuals are imprisoned in 100,000 children and adults, whereas in the United States, 750 are imprisoned for every 100,000 children and adults, which is instead a very wanting figure. (Tonry 20)

The United States is said to incarcerate more of the color people and more of the less fortunate as compared to other countries. It only implies their dimension on race and how they perceive the black natives. As it is known, most of the white people especially the youth are the most people affected by use and selling of drugs, this is shocking when one visits the prisons since the most convicted people with the drugs cases are mostly the black individuals. (Tonry 20) The rates on drugs charges which they receive when they get to prison are also triple that of the white people. Three to four black men who reside in the States are said to be imprisoned at one point in their lives.

Shockingly, the rates of a criminal act in the United States is lower as compared to other counties in the west, but the rate of imprisonment is at the rise in the United States such as in California but remains constant or goes down for the west countries. (Nguyen 47) After various research by the experts, they concluded that the Prison system in the United States did not prevent crime from happening since it favored the whites and disfavored the blacks.

Solutions to Mass Incarceration

To reduce the mass incarceration in most United States and to be more precise in California, the California government should adopt the 47 proposition which proposes a safe school environment and neighborhood, and it also requires the justice system to reduce charges for poor black people living in California in crimes such as theft. Such crimes are in today punishable for even 3 to 4 years in jail; thus the proposition 47 suggest of such crimes to be punished by imprisonment of maybe one year. If that is passed, approximately 40,000 to 50, 000 convicts will be freed, and this will improve the prison states. (Nguyen 47)

If the California justice system adapts this proposition, more resources will be saved, which can be allocated on other essential docked. Regarding what Newt Gingrich stated in a journal that prisons tend to take a more significant percentage of the budget money and thus when prisoners have reduced the cost used on prisons will go down too. The money saved from prisons can, therefore, be issued to rehabilitation centers where it can be used to help drugs addict come out of their addiction and also help the people suffering from mental disorders. (Simon 10)

If California adopts the use of this proposition 47, it will be of great help in this mass imprisonment era that it is in plus it will be an added advantage to the people convicted with such cases since they will enjoy less time in jail plus a stamp to symbolize a serious crime was committed will be omitted too. It indeed gives the prisoners an excellent chance to seek for employment and jobs of their dreams once released from prison. (Simon 10)

The proposition, however, is faced with a challenge when it comes to some justice system such as that of Los Angeles where the jail is too crowded that they are forced to let convicts free even before their jail term is over to give way for new convicts. The people with mental problems are not well cared for; thus, this proposition fails to provide a plan which should be taken in case of re-entry. (Simon 10)

Some people oppose this method, arguing that when this proposition is passed, the prisons will be forced to release people who might in the long run cause harm to the community. However, to avoid all these fears, the criminal justice system should come up with classes where they can train the prisoners on how to have good morals and ensure they are ready for release before doing so.


In conclusion, all whites' people should be taught the importance of unity without discriminating the people of color since they also have the same rights as they do. Everyone has the freedom to live and stay wherever they feel like so geographical background or social class should not be used as a way of discriminating the blacks. The media should also be sensitized on the issue of posting images that show discrimination of particular race.

Works Cited

Aviram, Hadar. "Are Private Prisons to Blame for Mass Incarceration and Its Evils: Prison Conditions, Neoliberalism, and Public Choice." Fordham Urb. LJ 42, (2014): 411. Retrieved from

Moore, Ryan. The new Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the age of colorblindness. Macat Library, 2017. Retrieved from

Nguyen, Viet. "How has proposition 47 affected California's jail population?." Public Policy Institute of California (2016). Retrieved from

Simon, Jonathan. Mass incarceration on trial: A remarkable court decision and the future of prisons in America. New Press, The, 2014.Retrieved from

Tonry, Michael. "Remodeling American sentencing: A tenstep blueprint for moving past mass incarceration." Criminology & Public Policy 13.4 (2014): 503-533. Retrieved from

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