Mass Incarceration

May 1, 2018

Dark, gray, lonely -- all words to describe a prison cell, sometimes shared or sometimes by yourself. But in general, no one wants to be in prison. But for blacks, it’s almost inevitable.

In 1970 about 300,000 people were in prison, in 2017 the number was 2.3 millon almost 7 times that of 1970 but in order for us to understand how we got to such a large number we need to know the past. Slavery ended in 1865 and with that being the south's main source of income they crashed, but oh no don’t think it’s all fine and dandy and blacks are free yay because in less in 3 days a law was passed that some would say blacks still feel the effect, that is the 13th amendment according to historynet the thirteenth amendment is “ 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. 2.” notice the most important part is highlighted this is where the beginning of mass incarceration starts notice the loophole? it specifically says “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party have been duly convicted” this punishment could be perceived as anything from as large as murder or as little as looking a white man in the eye, blacks were once more slaves to the system.

 

Into to the late 1800’s to early 1900’s blacks were getting arrested at a high rate and since this was predominately the south there were no fair trials for blacks, and with black codes which were according to Wikipedia “Codes that were laws passed by Southern states in 1865 and 1866 in the United States after the American Civil War with the intent and the effect of restricting African Americans' freedom, and of compelling them to work in a labor economy based on low wages or  debt.”It was hard for blacks to survive the chain was a big staple of this, men of all sizes on the chain gang hitting rocks,but they didn’t let this get them down they sang songs which gave them the courage to keep on.

 

On January 20,1969 Richard Nixon is elected, he starts the war on drugs targeted towards blacks and hippies, but he obviously doesn’t say this he states this through something called dog whistle politics, in which you hide what your talking on. You see Richard Nixon is smart he used small tactics that worked, because in the late 60’s and early 70’s heroin  and marijuana were a big epidemic so by Nixon Associating a drug to a group those being blacks and hippies he made people hate the group, and not the drug. Heroin was sold in solely black communities ruining them little by little.

 

Fast forward 15 years when a man named Ronald Reagan is elected, he comes into office talking on one thing drugs and that was crack cocaine, it was a staple of the black community since affordable and easier to get, many people were using it and with Reagan using dog whistle politics as well it was hard, many were targeted and this is were mass incarceration starts in the 20th century, the willie Horton case is the Turning point after whites in America got a hold on a black man killing a white person, the president got his chance he started to make speeches on how we must attack crack cocaine and it is the reason this happened--and--people believed him cops started arresting more and more blacks filling the prison cell in the fastest rate in history.


We are now in 2018 where 40% of blacks are in prison and incarceration rates are the highest, with 1.2 million children not having at least one of their parents, I am more likely to go to prison then to pass high school and I’ve done nothing,all because my skin, being a lawyer is my dream and after doing this project I see the injustice and I’m ready.






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