8 May 2018
Mass Incarceration Does Lead to a Caste System and Here’s Why
At the beginning of President Obama’s election, the United States seems to be progressing towards a post-racial society. However, the rates of mass incarceration of black males in the United States shows otherwise. Mass incarceration as a modern racial caste system will show the ideals of the criminal justice system in developing a racial hierarchy America. The history of social inequality derives back to slavery and the creation of the Jim Crow laws. Although these caste systems were outlawed by the 13th amendment and Civil Rights Act respectively, they are given new life and changed to the needs of the time. In other words, the racial caste in this country has not ended but has merely been redesigned. More than half of the young black men in many large American cities are under the control of the criminal justice system, are the evidence of a new racial caste system. The design of the criminal justice system brings a disproportionate number of young black males into prisons, giving them a lower-class status and leaving their chances of freedom slim. Even when minorities are released from prisons, they are usually discriminated and end back where they starte: in jail. Many say the criminal justice system targets men of minority. Race and structure of criminal justice system, also, inhibit the integration of ex-offenders into society and instead of freedom, and starts new phase in social control. Furthermore, being stereotyped as a criminal demonizes the black community and inhibits their chances of progression and success. Understanding mass incarceration, the role of race in the system, creating social inequality, and the effects of mass incarceration will further diminish the caste system.
Mass incarceration created by America’s Criminal Justice System is an institutionalized inequality that has recreated race and class disadvantage. Mass incarceration has produced a group of social outcasts who share experience of incarceration, crime, poverty, racial minority, and low education status. As outcasts, this social group made up of mostly young black males are second class citizens and lead them to have little social mobility. Like the Jim Crow Laws, mass incarceration implements discrimination against blacks by stripping them of their right to vote, limiting their ability to find employment, and constricting housing options. These social and economic disadvantages, which come from incarceration not only hurt the former ex-offender but the generations following them. An important social factor regarding the inequality of mass incarceration is that it furthers large rates of imprisonment among young African American men who have a high school diploma at most. For these young individuals, being confined to prison becomes normal for adolescent stages of life. “Incarceration rates are highest between the ages of twenty and thir...