Introduction to Sociology SSS100.1857
Social Problems and Social Movements
“It’s the way we respond to crime and how we view those people who have been labeled criminals.” I choose this quote because I think that the mass of the incarceration is what the criminal justice system defines a criminal. Today the United States unfortunately defines as criminal person depend of social level, race, culture or religion. This situation is increase day by day because people that have the obligation to enforcement the law as police are more focus in generating racism that
in catching the real criminals who are even in high society
“It’s not crime that makes us more punitive in the United States. It’s the way we respond to crime and how we view those people who have been labeled criminals.” This quote basically represents the main problem of our society as one. People in the united states are so biased that we have specific races labeled as the ones to be the most to start a crime due to history in our state. It’s pretty horrific to have a system where people just assume you are going to do something because of who you are. We are all humans and deserve the benefit of the doubt and not made felt like criminals when we arent ones.
In the article named PRISON STATE Michelle Alexander: “A System of Racial and Social Control” by SARAH CHILDRESS talks about hows the crime of an individuals limit his life from everything and remove him from the society. I chose the quote that said, “There’s actually voting drives that are conducted inside prisons. But here in the United States, it’s not only [that you are] being stripped of the right to vote inside prison, but you can be stripped of the right to vote permanently in some states like Kentucky because you once committed a crime”. This explains how they cut you off from the right to be a voice after you have a crime record. In addition to that “It doesn’t matter how long ago your conviction occurred. It doesn’t matter if it was five weeks, five years ago, 25 years ago. For the rest of your life, you have to check that box on employment applications asking have you ever been convicted of a felony”. This shows the discrimination a criminal faces once they have commit a crime for example jobs, off limits license, housing, food stamps and lot more that are being taking away from you. I think these people gets punished for the life time and that makes life more hared to life in a society like this. instead we can fix the social problem than just arresting people and making them suffer for life time which seems really unfair sometimes.
Michelle Alexander is the author of The New Jim Crow, as well as a civil- rights advocate lawyer, legal scholar and professor. Her conversation with Frontline was expressing her views on mass incarceration and how our justice system revolves around United States. One specific question was asked if locking people up for selling drugs help stop the drug trade in neighborhoods. She responds ” Arresting people for minor drug offenses in this drug war does not reduce drug abuse or drug-related crime. It is common sense and conventional wisdom that if you arrest one drug dealer, there will be another dealer on the street within hours to replace him” (Alexander). I agree with her response. If the police focused on the source of where the drugs are coming from, maybe neighbourhood drug dealers would stop. I believe Michelle tries to express that our criminal justice is a built based on a business. The system is setup to make you come back to jail again once you get out. We should reform our probation and parole systems. If our system encourages criminals to come back to jail it will only make it worse. We need to create a system where a person walks out of jail mentally prepared and has established himself to prepare for a positive lifestyle.
According to the article” A system Racial and Social Control.’’ The author states that “When you take a look at the system, when you really step back and take a look at the system, what does the system seem designed to do? It doesn’t seem designed to facilitate people’s re-entry.”(Alexander) I chose this quote because the system is so messed up for the people that serves there years in jail or prison and come out trying to recover their lives and start from zero but the they are not treated good. Incarcerated people come out with big debts and making it harder for them to get a job. They are only good if they have somebody that helps them when they come outside. That’s why the author talks about if there voice doesn’t count because they don’t give them a new opportunity.
“It is a system that operates to control people often at early ages, and virtually all aspects of their lives after they have been viewed as suspects in some kind of crime”.
I choose this quote because it’s very true, it also reminds me of the high school to prison pipeline.
“When you take a look at the system when you really step back and take a look at the system, what does the system seem designed to do? It doesn’t seem designed to facilitate people’s re-entry.”
My attention is drawn to this quote from the text because, as explained, the system seeks a quick solution to eliminate the problem in the short term, but not in the long term. Which is something negative because it ends up affecting people with low resources, people who do not have access to services such as people with greater monetary power. It is a problem that has been dragging for years.
“The impact that the system of mass incarceration has on entire communities, virtually decimating them, destroying the economic fabric and the social networks that exist there, destroying families so that children grow up not knowing their fathers and visiting their parents or relatives after standing in a long line waiting to get inside the jail or the prison — the psychological impact, the emotional impact, the level of grief and suffering, it’s beyond description.”
Mass incarceration is an issue that affects mostly the people of color and the lower class. Millions of people are incarcerated for minor crimes that could be handle in a different way. When they go to jail, they are pointed as criminals forever by the system. They lose all types of benefits, and the option of a normal life. Problems that lead to these minor crimes, should have better solutions. Mass incarceration is often overlooked, but is a growing issue in the United States.
“Sexual harassment is also a problem. Women of color report that male officers often subject them to rude and disrespectful treatment during stop and frisks, including inappropriate sexual contact. Police frequently charge those who seek to protect themselves from inappropriate touching during a stop and frisk or who question why they are being stopped, with resisting arrest. ”
This part of PROP is just a small bullet on lists of injustice that people of color endure by the NYPD. This quote is referring to the Stop and Frisks procedures that we commonly see in the MTA. They abuse their power over civilians and there is proof to back this up. Women of color usually are victims of sexual abuse crimes and injustice. They can’t even go to the police because they took advantage of their power and the women’s vulnerability.
In the reading of “Can Power from Below Change the World?,” “ Power is now seen as something that rests on personal skills, technical expertise, money or the control of opportunities to make money, prestige or access to prestige, numbers of people, or the capacity to mobilize numbers of people,” I chose this quote because this explains the idea that who controls power and how they control it. And it implies that African-American’s didn’t receive those characteristics of power. Also Power is very difficult to obtain because African-Americans are treated as second-class citizens. They are controlled by the power elite and are forced to play their rules. It is very arduous to obtain power because those in power don’t want to give power to others.
I am familiar with Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow” from a previous course taken at Laguardia. Her book provides detailed information and statistics on incarceration in the United States. One piece of information I learned from her work is that people of color are the highest number of individuals incarcerated by race, although statistics illustrate that crimes punishable by jail time are predominantly committed by white non-minority groups when classified by race. In Michelle Alexander’s interview with Frontline, she discussed issues on mass incarceration and stated, “The United States actually has a crime rate that is lower than the international norm, yet our incarceration rate is six to 10 times higher than other countries’ around the world. It’s not crime that makes us more punitive in the United States. It’s the way we respond to crime and how we view those people who have been labeled criminals”. I believe this simply sums up and exemplifies the United States’ involvement in mass incarceration. It goes beyond issues with the judicial system with sentencing, and is a problematic industry in business aspects and with profits sought by others.
“When you take a look at the system, when you really step back and take a look at the system, what does the system seem designed to do? It doesn’t seem designed to facilitate people’s re-entry, doesn’t seem designed for people to find work and be stable, productive citizens.
No, if you take a hard look at it, I think the only conclusion that can be reached is that the system as it’s presently designed is designed to send people right back to prison, and that is in fact what happens the vast majority of the time.”
The reason I think this statement is important because it clarify that the system isn’t design to help individuals. After being released from prison it is extremely difficult to re enter society as a contributing member of such, it’s hard to find jobs and housing and if you can’t get either a person is literally on the streets leaving but one choice which is to go back to prison. This demonstrates that system is lacking something, prison should be a rehabilitation institution where people that’s incarcerated can get the help they need to once they get released they can become productive members of society. Interestingly enough this is what many developed countries are doing, therefore it’s not even an excuse to say that there isn’t a solution. It’s become obvious that incarcerating large amount of people for minor crimes and then releasing them without the capability of finding jobs or housing just brings them right back to prison which is unacceptable because it shows that their time in prison served no purpose at all.
“The most important social factor is the inequality inpenal confinement, this inequality produces extraordinary rates of incarceration among young African American men with no more than a high school education”. This quote was significant to me because it expresses what a lot of african american men are subjected to which in turn diminishes social and economic opportunities for them.
“You’re now branded a criminal, a felon, and employment discrimination is now legal against you for the rest of your life. It doesn’t matter how long ago your conviction occurred. It doesn’t matter if it was five weeks, five years ago, 25 years ago. For the rest of your life, you have to check that box on employment applications asking have you ever been convicted of a felony”. It is very unfortunate to watch people live their life as if they were convicted murderers. After finishing their bid felons come out to a world full of rejection with no one to support them. This affects many families in our society, a small case can literally ruin your life forever. This reading reminded me of a documentary i watched on NetFlix about how African American men are targeted to be in the system for longer periods of time. Our previous presidents had a lot to do with how our system is bias and racist.
“Some prison officials are determined to keep the people they lock in cages as ignorant as possible about the racial, social and political forces that have made the United States the most punitive nation on earth,” she said. “Perhaps they worry the truth might actually set the captives free.” A spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections confirmed that the book had been banned but would not elaborate. A form from the prison system’s literature review
According to Michelle Alexander “A System of Racial and Social Control, she says that “ It is the process by which people are swept into the criminal justice system, branded criminals and felons, locked up for longer periods of time than most other countries in the world who incarcerate people who have been convicted of crimes, and then released into a permanent second-class status in which they are stripped of basic civil and human rights, like the right to vote, the right to serve on juries, and the right to be free of legal discrimination in employment, housing, access to public benefits.” This quote explains that the incarnated people who are being release that have convicted a crimes are released and stripped of there human rights. The reason I chose this quote is because, it shows that the system is to show how they operate to control people and the aspects of their daily lives after later on they are viewed as suspects and are in some kind crime who are treated like animals and not human beings like they are.
In Michelle Alexander’s she claims “ An exceptional growth in the size of our prison population, it was driven primarily by the war on drugs, a war that was declared in the 1970s by President Richard Nixon and which has increased under every president since. It is a war that has targeted primarily nonviolent offenders and drug offenders, and it has resulted in the birth of a penal system unprecedented in world history. I feel this quote touched me in way that created some frustration due to the fact that It was President Nixon who felt the “War on Drugs” was a necessity the country needed but it was a new form of a racism system created by conservative, Protestant, middle class & wealthy, and white men.
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