1. Michelle Alexander argues, that behind the mass incarceration in the U.S. stand the results of the media propaganda of the Reagan administration which made numerous efforts to present poor inner-city residents as illegal drug users. This media campaign supported the War on Drugs, which actually started years before crack cocaine became a problem in poor neighborhoods. Alexander mentions the CIA’s support of Nicaraguan guerilla armies which smuggled crack cocaine into the United States and reminds us of the fact that the CIA blocked efforts to investigate the matter. Further Alexander brings our attention not only to the fact that the War on Drugs began when the drug use was declining, but that illegal drugs made their appearance in the black community after the war had been declared.
  2. Michelle Alexander claims that surveys and studies have shown that people of all colors use and sell drugs at similar rates, yet the nation’s jails and prisons have a disproportionally large number of black and brown drug offenders who are “subject to legalized discrimination for the rest of their lives”. It seems that racial discrimination is still present in prison admittance – Alexander mentions that “in some states, black men have been admitted to prison on drug charges at rates twenty to fifty times greater than those of white men.” 
  3. I think the reference here is made to government’s use of punishment as a “tool for social control”, especially in the light of the fact that the crime rates in the U.S. have not been higher than those of other Western countries, while the incarceration has soared. Considering the concentration of racial minorities in jails and prisons, the argument could be made that the emergence of such penal system is indeed unparalleled.   

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