Thursday, March 17, 2011

The New Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow is a book focusing on the immense number of African Americans in the current prison system of the US, and the necessity of a prison reform. Mostly, the war on drugs is what ends up putting people in prison, the reason why we have higher prison rates than almost all established countries. The problem is, everyone does drugs, white, black, or purple. In fact, studies have shown that white youth are more likely to do drugs than black youth. The way that this turns into a racial problem is with the police, focusing on poor communities of color when they’re arresting for drug charges. This, in turn, ends up with more African American men in the incarceration system, pulling them from their communities, families, and putting them in the system for life once they return. When one gets out of prison and is put on parole, you must adhere to being regulated, and if you don’t, you face the threat of returning to jail. Parole violations include:

  • Failing to report to your parole officer
  • Failing to take a mandatory drug and alcohol test, or failing a mandatory drug or alcohol test
  • Failing to meet curfew
  • Failing to pay court-ordered fines
  • Failing to meet community service obligations
So, after getting out of prison and trying to get your life back together, you must take your time to meet with someone who does not care about your rehabilitation, as the parole officers are over worked due to their large number of cases (because of mass incarceration), you must remain completely sober, be in at a specified time, pay money to the system that put you away (and is more than likely making it difficult for you to find a job due to your charges), and do community service. Pretty much, your plate is full. Of course, if you were arrested on a drug charge, drugs are familiar for you and once you can’t get a job and face going back to jail with out paying your fines, there’s a simple way to make money that’s very familiar; sell drugs. Our prison system traps people, and keeps people, in it. Black men are the majority in our prison systems, but there are not more black male criminals in our country than other-raced criminals. That’s where this injustice is compared to Jim Crow as the introduction to the book states:
“Like Jim Crow (and slavery), mass incarceration operates as a tightly networked system of laws, policies, customs, and institutions that operate collectively to ensure the subordinate status of a group defined largely by race.”

Here is a link to amazon where you can buy the book, if you're interested.
Posted by Lynzee Coble


  1. I think this is so sad I wanted to cry while we were watching the "30 Days" episode, not because most prisoners are black but because there are so many men that feel worthless.Its amazing how one race is the majority in the prison system but there are no known facts that point to that race as being most responsible for criminal actions.

  2. I think it is ridiculous that all prisons are not like the rehabilitation one shown in the episode of "30 Days" that we watched in class. Many member of my family and kids that I grew up with are in prison now, or have just been released, and I see the pattern that most inmates face on a personal level. My cousins that have been in juve and prison, find it as a way of life and often find themselves right back where they started. I wish that this issue was made more public so the rest of the world can see how it affects everyone and society.

  3. Sa'ood Abdul-BasitMarch 20, 2011 at 11:16 PM

    I agree with the comments above! It makes so no sense! ever since I was young I was told to take caution of cops, all they need is one reason (valid or false claims) to get you in the system!

    Sadly I know a good friend around my age & black like myself, who was a victim of attempted robbery by a man who was white. My friend acted in self defense & gave the man what was coming. The man was never charged(my friend had witnesses, the man had none!!), and sadly my friend was put on probation & ultimately received time.

    I could easily see myself in his position, everyday I have it on my mind, the risk of being incarcerated.
    Who even wants to imagine having plans to complete a college education, make a good living & do to this issue of discrimination, all that is taken from from you.

  4. I do agree with what was already said. It is evident that those who frequently get locked up eventually get use to it and it becomes normal. Many inmates serving time probably should not be there but receiving help instead. In addition one trip to prison can forever ruin a life.
    The prison system would not be as bad if they could find a way to actually give former prisoners a second chance. Instead those who commit ridiculous, minor crimes are locked up and will hold criminal records that will follow them throughout life. As a result not finding a supporting job may lead to involvement in more illegal activity and more prison time. The episode of "30 Days" is a good example of this. Many of the convicted criminals shown found themselves returning to jail over and over.

  5. Brittanie DeShieldsMarch 22, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    This book seems really interesting I may just read it. I think it is rediculous that the police treat people different just because they grow up in a city that is low in poverty and high in crime. The big thing about this that bothers me is that when black police men arrest other black men, they look at them as if they arent worth anything and make such horrible comments towards them because they are black. When I dont think they realize they are black themselves and just because they have their lives together not everyone is raised the same. If you are raised in drugs, alchol, and crime then thats all you will know and grow up with in your mind.
    I dont think anyone should be treated differently regarding race because everyone is capable of doing the same crime regardless of race or gender. Even just being black or even hispanic, since you are a minority in society you will be treated completely different. I've always thought this was because they want to be treated equally but since they aren't so they act out sometimes worse than whites. To me our system is rediculous and needs to definately be re-evalutated because not all minority members of society are doing wrong. Great post by the way!