Michelle Alexander states that the main explanation of why so many people are sent to jail in the U.S today is due to drug related crimes. However, Alexander states that using this as an explanation is wrong seeing as to most of those being sent to jail are minorities- especially Blacks- facing harsher sentences than those who are white, even when white people are those who commit drug related crimes a lot more often than people of color. Those who are convicted of drug related crimes also face harsher punishment than prisoners in other countries with serious human rights violations. Lastly, the U.S as a whole has a higher rate of imprisonment than countries such as Russia, China, and Iran, whom have highly repressive regimes, as stated by Alexander.
The racial disparities in the rates of incarceration can not be explained by the rates of drug rhymes because as M. Alexander stated, there are studies proving that people of all colors sell and use drugs at essentially the same rates. Not only that, but she also states that surveys have shown that white youth are more likely to participate in drug crime than people of color.
I think the phrase “the American penal system has emerged as a system of social control unparalleled in world history” means people are being imprisoned as a way to control certain groups, such as minorities, since they are the ones making the vast majority of prison populations. Instead of prison being used as a way to help and reform, it is being used to keep people- minorities- in “their place.”
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