Effects of Mass Incarceration on the Black Community

Mass incarceration is a ongoing issue in the United States, especially within the black community. It is actually sad that “there are more African American men incarcerated in the U.S. than the total prison populations in India, Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, Japan, Germany, Finland, Israel and England combined” (The Black Male Incarceration Problem Is Real and Its Catastrophic). This statistic then questions what is the actual problem, the people or the justice system?

What actually is surprising is that Blacks are getting put in jail for longer times for the same crime that a white person would commit, but instead they get a shorter jail time. Often times, Blacks are the main ones to be put into jail for the same crime a white person would commit, especially when it comes to drugs. According to the NAACP Criminal Justice fact sheet, “5 times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites”, which was actually expressed in the War on Drugs. That sad truth basically answers the question whether the problem is the people or the justice system. Although they are all criminals no matter the skin color, its obvious that the justice system is the main problem in increasing mass incarceration of Black males.

Not only is mass incarceration the issue, the lives these people live after imprisonment is nearly the same as being in prison. It is almost impossible for them to get a job, find housing, and pay bills. This eventually leads them back into the jail system because there are so many stipulations and restrictions put on them that makes it hard to succeed after imprisonment. Another effect of mass incarceration is that emphasizes the stereotype that Black men are criminals and are always bound to end up in jail. Even though the stereotype is not true, it makes it hard for people to believe that when in the media they constantly highlight the Black men that are getting busted.

The issue of mass incarceration can be fixed by bringing in more black people into law enforcement jobs, stop arresting people for petty crimes and lessen the jail time, and give alternative punishments rather than jail time. It can also be fixed by educating the actual criminals, starting from the youth, about the consequences about crimes. Instead of throwing the people into maximum security prisons that has limited human contact, they can provide programs and resources that will better the people. Finally, the issue can definitely be fixed by the actual justice system realizing there is an issue because thats where progress can be made.