African-American and the Criminal Justice System
The number of inmates in state prisons and federal jails has been increasing drastically for the last three decades. The vast mass immurement in United State of America has been attributed to several factors, which may include, change in morality, environment and policies, as reported by Roberts (2004). In light with this, the rate of incarceration for African Americans, especially men between the age of 20 and 29 has soared to astronomical levels, raising a critical concern in the state prison. Further, the gap between the whites and the Black inmates has also been widening, and the prison expansion involving black folks has been in discordant numbers (Roberts, 2004).
According to Mauer (1999), the increase in the rate of Blacks imprisonment over the years, is mainly ascribed to a plethora of poor sociological facets which may include; victimization of the Black community by crime, which amounts to severe individual and community problems and the generation of a composite justice administration, which leads to an upshot of matters that affect the victims, and the Black community at large. In tandem to this, drug abuse, and racial discrimination are also described as the key realm of law breaking and imprisonment of more African Americans (Mauer, 1999). Garland (2004), affirms that the linked relationship of functional comparability, structural similarity and cultural unification, affects the black society, and it has led to an increase in drug trafficking and its use. Similarly, the relationship has also amounted to a carceral continuum that entraps the Africa American men who are rejected by the low-wage labor market. Marginality of socioeconomic, due to increase in poverty, has also shaped the Black society, and it is largely evinced through racial discrimination and the run-away growth of the penal system (Garland, 2004).
In addition to this, lack of adequate education, has also been a core contributor to crime. The widespread of African American dropping out of school, especially of out college, before they earn their degree has been the cause of many problems. Underemployment, unemployment and lack of skills have largely caused the growth of a poor socioeconomic status among the black community, thence turning into drug and crime as a source of income (Garland, 2004). In tandem to this, lack proficient public services: housing, health care insurance and infrastructure has also led to the development of a poor neighborhood characterized by abandoned buildings, garbage and lack of security. Further, there is an increment in the defilement of the societal norms and development of weak social ties which provide efficient ground for drug trafficking and other crime (Garland, 2004: Mauer, 1999).
Poor social influence also enhances crime rates in the black community. This is highly evinced through ex gang behavior that is heightened by ex convicts from jail, or offenders from parole. Most the ex convicts may suffer from collateral denial of certain privileges and state benefits. Similarly, they may be unentitled to facets like public housing, education, welfare benefits and they may neither qualify for employment nor allowed to enlist in military. This amounts to the emergence of disintegrated society with increased rates of crime (Mauer, 1999). In line with this, war on drugs launched by Ronald Reagan has also contributed to mass incarceration of black men and the disparity in the society, imputed to the open and frequent drug trade in the black neighborhood (Garland, 2004).
Concisely, the negative social factors, socioeconomic and political facets are the core contributors to the rapid rise of crime rates in the African American community. Aspects of drug trafficking and use have also led to imprisonment of more African Americans than the white population, resulting to a vast disparity in state prisons.
Garland, D. (Ed.). (2011). Mass Imprisonment: Social Causes and Consequences. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Mauer, M. (1999). The Crisis of the Young African American Male and the Criminal Justice System. Retrieved from http://exodusfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/CrisisofyoungAfricanamericanMale-M.pdf
Roberts, E. D. (2004). Social and Moral Cost of Mass Incarceration. Retrieved from http://www.law.fsu.edu/faculty/2003-2004workshops/roberts.pdf