Minority groups often suffer from injustice through racial profiling and discrimination. African Americans continue to be arrested at a higher rate compared to whites. As a result, minority groups are the central victims from the Reagan’s “War on Crime” policy and this leads to the deleterious affect on these groups in areas of political power, employment opportunities and poverty.
Mass incarceration has resulted in a new form of social segregation which pose as a threat to our goal of becoming a more democratic society. Mass incarceration renders the minorities as non-citizens in effect of creating the New Jim Crow, denying their voting rights. The adverse effects of mass incarceration are closely intertwined with the ideas behind Jim Crow, but it is presented in a race-neutral way that distracts individuals from recognizing this form of racism. Felon disenfranchisement has a clear relationship with Jim Crow as it diminishes blacks’ political power by taking away their voting rights. This situation is similar to those African Americans living in between 1876 and 1965, where they were forced to be segregated and to be categorized as second-class citizens. These effects are not only detrimental to the African American community, but also our society as a whole from archiving true democracy. True democracy is where all can enjoy the freedom and rights they are entitled to, yet mass incarceration has taken away the natural rights of a large amount of our population and subsequently silencing their voices. Our progress in establishing a society, where everyone is treated equally, can only be attained when everyone can exercise his or her right to vote.
Mass Incarceration ultimately reaffirms stereotypes and racial order that will only worsen the progress towards a more race-neutral society. The society tends to refer or points to blacks as criminals or suspects when it involves crime-related issue, as they are the ones who populate the prisons. The racialized justice system is one of the forces that composes the preconceived stereotypes in our society, which ultimately lead us to judge other by their color and race. This will be a significant barrier as we progress into a new generation where we hope to form an integrated and fully equal society.
The goal of this presentation is to provoke the readers to re-think the three terms: prison, law and crime.
As statistical data demonstrated that prison has little effect on the overall criminal rate, we must then re-think whether prison is the proper institute as the symbol of order. We must think of the consequences of the increasing prison as it leads to a higher burden for tax payers and it further puts those in prison in danger when they are released as their chances are limited and might need to turn back to underground economy for living.
For law, we can think law as a tool not to solely punish people but also a tool to provoke reform, such as the higher spending on education in low-income neighborhoods, where crimes are dominantly high. As statistical data have demonstrated, education and crimes has a correlation and it is a way to drive down criminal rates in the long run. Hence, we must re-consider what laws can do and to promote these reforms to prevent crimes in the future.
The three strikes law states that both soft and hard crimes are to be punished the same way; hence, if a criminal commits soft-crimes for his third time, he might receive a life sentence. This unfair way of punishing both crimes as hard-crimes causes much more harm to our society; hence the definition of crime must be reconsidered. In the recent government election, California has revised its laws and three strikes law no longer exist in this state. This can be a path for other states to follow.
Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rWtDMPaRD8
This video gave me an in-depth knowledge on how police abuses the use of Stop and Frisk and how racial profiling comes into play. I was both shocked and irritated as police is always the symbol of order and it presents justice in our society. The reason the film is able to bring out the way I feel is through the first hand- interviews with polices and several secretly recorded conversation between victims and police officers.
These records illustrate important first-hand evidence on the situation and how victims are mistreated. Moreover, it acknowledges that some of these police officers have no choices but had to do so because they have to meet their “quota” on arrest numbers. The overall film brings an important point: the police authorities are forcing street police officers to meet quotas by increasing innocent arrest; hence, victims are produced throughout the process.
This film brings out the truth of the current stop and frisk policy and it is an important law that could be abandoned as it creates more harm than good. Moreover, as the society spends more time and money devoting towards social justice with these tools, they could start from the bottom of the spectrum, such as more spending in quality education offered in poor neighborhoods, as education plays an important role in reducing crime rates.
Engagdet’s interface contains a lot of information with the use of words and images; yet, it manages well to combine the two into a simple and clean design. This is one of the things that I draw inspiration from Engagdet. On top of that, the homepage presents the audience snippets of the blogs and gives them the option to continue to read if they wish to. This makes the website to save space, to provide more information and to reduce the amount of words from one single blog. Each snippet contains a image regarding to the blog, in this case for Engagdet, it is usually a picture of the related technology piece. This adds more to the title as it helps to let the readers know the topic. Although this blog is about technology, it is still a good example for a blog like mine, which speaks about social issues as it can draw from the use of images and the concise content.
I consider this blog to be a good example with both the style of the content and the rich photo images that made the blog much more personal and engaging. My blog will be different from this one as I want to present a much more serious tone on my social issue. Learning from this blog, I might incorporate more photos and graphs to enhance the overall vision of each blog and to become more captivating.
My blog would examine the effects of prisons on our current society. Prison is a system that aims to reduce crimes and it is a symbol of order in society. It holds a positive image among law-abiding citizens. However, since President Richard Nixon enacted the “War on Crime” and “three strikes law” policies, both the numbers of prisons and convicts, especially minorities have increased tremendously in the past several decades. The answer for the prison boom cannot be justified with the increase in crime rates. In fact,
Prison gradually becomes a form of the New Jim Crow subjugating felons as second-classmen by denying them the right to vote. Moreover, the effects of imprisonment are detrimental to certain minority groups because it perpetuates chronic poverty and reaffirms racial stereotypes. These consequences impinge on our democracy and our progress towards a fully integrated society.
This blog’s goal is to provoke our communities to re-think of this issue and to present factual and statistical data of prison and its effects. One must take a look into the data that indicates there is no positive correlation between crime rates and prison. While the number prison has been proliferated over the past decade, major offense crime rates has remained relatively the same while soft-crime such as drug possession, has grown rapidly. With the three strikes law policy, a criminal might receive a life-sentence for committing three soft-crimes. This law has put a lot of people behind the bars and largely contributed to the prison industrial complex (PIC). There are incentives for private companies as the prison grows because most of the prisons nowadays are privatized and it generates millions of revenues. Hence, the PIC signifies the relationship between prison and companies. On the other hand, the government prisoners are supported by taxpayers, and over the decade, the money has been spent on building prisons, rather than focusing on social programs to help ex-convicts.
The prisoners’ chance of reincorporating into the society is very minimal as the chances of getting a job are significantly more difficult. Most of the time, they had to turn back to their old paths, the underground economy. Racial profiling is also suggested in the book, Racial Domination Racial Progress, that African americans are more likely to be arrested and encountered by polices. This perpetuates stereotypes and chronic poverty is poor neighborhood. Last but not least, they lost the right to vote, the basic right to express their voices in political stages. To progress towards a more equal and just society, prison appears to be a barrier if anything else.
The overall visual of the blog would be clear and simple with facts and statistical data so the readers can grasp the magnitude of the effects.