Essay Sample on What Happened to the Fourth Amendment Protection on the War Against Drugs

Published: 2023-04-09
Essay Sample on What Happened to the Fourth Amendment Protection on the War Against Drugs
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Discrimination Criminal law Penal system Drug abuse
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1131 words
10 min read

The war that was imposed on drugs is one of the most important aspects of public policy that has received and revealed systematic racism within society. The implementation of this particular act was mainly targeting the African Americans who were in possession of the drugs resulting in long-term imprisonment. The imprisonment affected most of the citizens that were coming from minority backgrounds. Alexander in the argument over this happenings argues that the war on drugs was generally a representative of the worldwide Jim Crow epidemic that tends to single out the African American thus interfering with the rights of these particular persons as the citizens of the United States of America. However much the practice is generally against the eighth and the fourth commandment of our constitution it suggests the Jim Crow error laws in a significantly complex way. The mass activities that were carried out on the war against the drug system creates a collateral effect on most of the minority counties and it is largely responsible for the diversification of the urban communities, majorly in the rise of the super ghettos in the major cities and towns throughout the country together with the institutionalization of the prison industrial complex.

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Alexander argues that the war on drugs is not only a new kind of discrimination but also responsible for various kinds of racism within the criminal justice system that has been geared through the institutionalization of the industrial prison complex. The fourth amendment has posed various forms of disadvantages in the bid to stage a war against the use of drugs. The main reason for the provision of the drug amendments was due to the effects on the drugs both to adult and infant babies, Various research has documented that the rapidly increasing number of women who are at the age of childbearing are using licit and illicit substances. However much the statistical information may be insufficient, there are several indicators that almost one out of every ten infants may be exposed to the illicit drug in utero. Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) describes the situation in which newborns experience drug withdrawal after birth as a result of drug exposure within the utero. Currently, the most common course of NAS is the abuse of opioids during pregnancy period. Research has revealed that the use of drugs or the abuse of drugs is associated with a significant increase in the poor birth outcome or even low birth weight. Infants that are born to mother who abuses drugs are always tested positive for this kind of drugs at birth and this is shown by the traces of the drugs in the placenta, umbilical cords, and the stool. Recent research has also revealed that mother who takes drugs in less than two months to their pregnancy were twice more likely to be affected by the pregnancy as compared to those who did not use the drugs during the pregnancy period. The World health organization has almost seven percent of women at childbearing age who admits to having taken illicit drugs. Apart from the use of the known illegal drugs, alcohol consumption and consumption of nonprescribed drugs shortly before delivery were at risk of affecting the infants too.

According to the arguments put forth by Alexander, the early accounts of punishment generally showed a kind of corporal punishment that was generally a preferred form of imprisonment and was mostly limited to minor crimes such as debts. The acts of punishing the treason and also for the better regulation of the proceedings were categorized under sixteen kinds of crimes some including murder, rape, robbery, and counterfeiting. The crimes that are listed here in various parts were similar to the deem within the society in our current times however much the possession of narcotics and drugs was not considered a crime under these acts. Therefore a corporal punishment that was less sever was employed. For the lesser offenses that resulted various fines were prescribed with an alternative jail sentence to cover for the same. All these were articulated in the amendment to control the drug problem that was on the rise at that particular time. Within the amendment, imprisonment was rarely employed as a form of punishment and the main category of punishment was concerning the penalties that were put forth for the drug and narcotics dealers.

It was later in the amendment of the act that the state was authorized to use prison labor as a bridge between the paid salary and slavery. Therefore the slavery form was abolished except in a situation whereby the same was applied as a form of punishment to those who did not abide by the rules and regulations.

Alexander's viewpoint of the mass incarceration "New Jim Crow"

The author argues that in the past, the United States of America has increased the use of jail and prison as the main method of enforcing laws and this has trended all the way to affect the minority community mostly black Americans. The New Jim Crow is a stunning account in regards to the re-introduction of the caste-like kind of system in the United States and it has negatively affected the African American behind bars through the permanent kind of second-class status within the community. As the US celebrates its triumph victory over the race that was mainly realized in the election of Barack Obama most of the black Americans within major urban areas are still under criminal records. According to Alexander, the Jim Crow law was wiped several decades back but currently, most of the African Americans who are facing the various laws in most of the prison or the social universe have generally been denied basic civil rights. These parameters include free from discrimination in the employment sector, housing, the capability of access to a good education system together with the public benefits that are enjoyed by other people.

In the current society, it is not socially permissible for the application of race as a form of explicit or even justification of discrimination, social contempt, and exclusion. However, as civil-rights-lawyer-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander demonstrates, the idea of discrimination against the convicted criminal in any form is what is considered to be legal more so from the African American perspective. Alexander, therefore, argues that by targeting Black Americans through the war to eliminate drugs and through the dissemination of the communities of various colors, the US criminal justice has generally functioned to be a contemporary form of racial control however much the same formally adheres to colorblindness.


The New Jim Crow: mass incarceration in the age of Colorblindness By MICHELLE ALEXANDER (New York and London, New Press, 2010), 290 pp. PS19.99. (2011). Race & Class, 53(1), 115-117. doi: 10.1177/0306396811406793

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