In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet, as legal star Michelle Alexander reveals, today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination—employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal.
Featured on The Tavis Smiley Show, Bill Moyers Journal, Democracy Now, and C-Span’s Washington Journal, The New Jim Crow has become an overnight phenomenon, sparking a much-needed conversation—including a recent mention by Cornel West on Real Time with Bill Maher&mdas;about ways in which our system of mass incarceration has come to resemble systems of racial control from a different era.
Los hispanoamericanos están ampliamente representados en este sistema de encarcelamiento masivo que Alexander describe: 15 por ciento de todos los latinos en Estados Unidos dicen que ellos o alguien de su familia inmediata ha sido arrestado dentro de los últimos cinco años; y que cerca del 25 por ciento de los latinos de entre 18 y 29 años comparten esta experiencia. Los latinos representan cerca de la mitad de todos los convictos en las prisiones federales, y en California (uno de los pocos estados que cuenta con información sobre esto), los latinos componen un 40 por ciento de todos los arrestos.
Catedráticos tales como Tom Romero han sugerido que The New Jim Crow provee de los fundamentos esenciales para comprender el “nuevo sistema Jim Crow” de inmigración y detención en los Estados Unidos al día de hoy. Millones de familias de habla hispana afectadas por este sistema apreciarán contar con una edición en español de este libro que ha sido considerado como “invaluable” por el Daily Kos y “explosivo” por Kirkus Reviews.
Doris Marie Provine’s engaging analysis traces the history of race in anti-drug efforts from the temperance movement of the early 1900s to the crack scare of the late twentieth century, showing how campaigns to criminalize drug use have always conjured images of feared minorities. Explaining how alarm over a threatening black drug trade fueled support in the 1980s for a mandatory minimum sentencing scheme of unprecedented severity, Provine contends that while our drug laws may no longer be racist by design, they remain racist in design. Moreover, their racial origins have long been ignored by every branch of government. This dangerous denial threatens our constitutional guarantee of equal protection of law and mutes a much-needed national discussion about institutionalized racism—a discussion that Unequal under Law promises to initiate.
A central factor causing the upsurge in the drug war, the author explains, is the fact that laws were passed in the 1980s that allowed law enforcement to profit from seizing property based on scanty evidence and without criminal charges. His meticulous research has revealed that this "policing for profit" is responsible for a variety of assaults on civil liberties, including mass incarceration, SWAT teams, and random drug sweeps. A second factor that infects every aspect of the War on Drugs is racism—the widespread stereotyping of drug traffickers as African Americans and Latinos. These issues and more are explored in this book that lays bare what the media largely ignores.
Drawing on a growing body of academic and professional work, Understanding Mass Incarceration describes in plain English the many competing theories of criminal justice—from rehabilitation to retribution, from restorative justice to justice reinvestment. In a lively and accessible style, author James Kilgore illuminates the difference between prisons and jails, probation and parole, laying out key concepts and policies such as the War on Drugs, broken windows policing, three-strikes sentencing, the school-to-prison pipeline, recidivism, and prison privatization. Informed by the crucial lenses of race and gender, he addresses issues typically omitted from the discussion: the rapidly increasing incarceration of women, Latinos, and transgender people; the growing imprisonment of immigrants; and the devastating impact of mass incarceration on communities.
Both field guide and primer, Understanding Mass Incarceration will be an essential resource for those engaged in criminal justice activism as well as those new to the subject.
Offering a critical examination of the issues, this collection begins with a discussion of the marginalization of African Americans in the academic discipline of criminal justice and in the larger society, an assessment of the impact of the legacy of slavery on private prisons and mass imprisonment, and an empirical examination of the depiction of African Americans in prime-time television crime programs. Part II looks at racial profiling, the underrepresentation of African Americans in hate crime victimization research, the impact of race on presentencing, the trend toward trying juveniles in adult court, and the discriminatory treatment of African Americans in capital-eligible cases. Finally, Part III discusses the impact of African American police officers on the profession, analyzes black juror nullification, proposes an increase in the presence of African American jurors, and assesses the potential ameliorative impact of restorative justice on the current racial imbalance in the criminal justice system.
A groundbreaking examination of our system of imprisonment, revealing the true causes of mass incarceration as well as the best path to reform
In the 1970s, the United States had an incarceration rate comparable to those of other liberal democracies-and that rate had held steady for over 100 years. Yet today, though the US is home to only about 5 percent of the world's population, we hold nearly one quarter of its prisoners. Mass incarceration is now widely considered one of the biggest social and political crises of our age. How did we get to this point?
Locked In is a revelatory investigation into the root causes of mass incarceration by one of the most exciting scholars in the country. Having spent fifteen years studying the data on imprisonment, John Pfaff takes apart the reigning consensus created by Michelle Alexander and other reformers, revealing that the most widely accepted explanations-the failed War on Drugs, draconian sentencing laws, an increasing reliance on private prisons-tell us much less than we think. Pfaff urges us to look at other factors instead, including a major shift in prosecutor behavior that occurred in the mid-1990s, when prosecutors began bringing felony charges against arrestees about twice as often as they had before. He describes a fractured criminal justice system, in which counties don't pay for the people they send to state prisons, and in which white suburbs set law and order agendas for more-heavily minority cities. And he shows that if we hope to significantly reduce prison populations, we have no choice but to think differently about how to deal with people convicted of violent crimes-and why some people are violent in the first place.
An authoritative, clear-eyed account of a national catastrophe, Locked In transforms our understanding of what ails the American system of punishment and ultimately forces us to reconsider how we can build a more equitable and humane society.
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