Jada mathurin 

Professor jewel 



Will Black men overcome the criminal justice system?


Dear , Black Men


Barack obama said “ so let’s look at the statistics the United States is home to 5% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s prisoners” there was a  prison population of 300,000 people in 1972 . Today we have a prison population of 2.3 million , the United States now has the highest rate of incarceration in the world can you believe that ? .  Black people suffer from many losses such as voting ,The war on drugs , Over policing in black communities and pleading guilty to crimes they didn’t commit .

Black men and black people in general are over represented in the news as criminals . That means they are shown as criminals more times than they are actually criminals , based on FBI statistics . The war on drugs had become part of our popular culture in television programs like cops. When people cut on their local news at night they see black men being paraded across the screen in handcuffs . They were creating a setting where people would be afraid and when you make people afraid ,It’s easy to justify throwing them in the garbage can . Society makes black people their own crime because that’s  how we introduce them in the world for example you often hear “ that’s a rapist , that’s a murderer, that’s a robber , that’s a sex offender , that’s a gang leader” and when you hear that so often it becomes easier to expect that their guilty and that they should go to prison . The reality Is that no one who Is white truly understands the challenge of being a black person in America so they have then educated public purposely , over the years to believe that black men in particular and people in general are criminals . To be clear white people aren’t the only ones that believe this black people also believe this and are scared  to be in their own community because of the way they explain us on the news and social media . They tell us to be careful when you’re walking home at night , make sure you stay alert , don’t play your music to loud , if you see anything weird call for help and this makes people worry and feel unsafe .

Looking at the way democrats were defeated in 1988 ,1984 and  1980 there comes to be a belief among the democrats that they have to adopt a position that is much more centrist . It became kinda impossible for a politician to look soft on crime . during that time if you appeared soft on crime they weren’t going to take you serious and you wouldn’t win the election  . When you are in an environment where everybody’s doing the same thing everybody’s competing to be tough on crime you quickly all end in the same space so it doesn’t become a political advantage unless you do something more and by the late and early 90s people like bill Clinton had begun to figure out they’ve been able to match the consistency of “ squishy , soft liberal won’t protect you , tough conservative will protect you” and they won the fight every time . Bill Clinton  was trying to figure out how to deal with a country that was still basically Reagan’s country but he was trying to govern as democrat . Then some horrendous crimes take place “ Polly Kalamazoo , abducted from her bedroom at home and ended up killed” which led to the California “ three strikes and you’re out” law Bill Clinton said “ when you commit a violent crime you will be put away put away for good , three strikes and you are out” A persons convicted of their third felony essentially that person is mandated to prison for the rest of their lives . Mandatory sentencing said that they were no longer going to let judges consider the circumstances around a crime they were just going to impose a mandatory sentence and that was a hard Thing for judges because they were trying to dispense justice on a daily basis and now cant do so. This is important because mandatory minimum sentencing laws force a judge to hand down a minimum prison sentence based on the changes a prosecutor brings against a defendant which result in a conviction usually a guilty plea . many states have such laws every significant federal drug offender could get a very long sentence . The truth in sentencing that kept people imprisoned for 85% of their sentence , the idea of truth in sentencing was that you were sentence to a certain amount of time and the public wanted to be confident that your gonna do just about every bit of that time . They found a way to move pass parole so when you get in the federal system and they give you 20 or 30 years that what you got parole was a mechanism for getting people out of prisons when it was clear that they were no longer a threat to the public safety . Then comes the Congress with a proposal for a 30 billion federal crime bill of 1994 that was heavily loaded towards law enforcer incarceration the omnibus crime bill was responsible for a massive expansion of the prison system and beyond that , it provided all kinds of money and perverse incentives or law enforcement to do a lot of the things that we nowadays consider to be abusive not only did he increase fungi to states to build prisons to locked as many people involved in drug crimes but also to put 100,000 police officers on the street . The effect that this had on black people was that they were easily targeted and put in jail for infamous crimes because they needed to fill up these jails. 


Based on the film “ 13th ” Throughout American history African Americans have repeatedly been controlled through systems of racial and social control that appeared to die down but they are reborn in new forms tailored to the needs of constraints of the time.  After slavery ended a new system was born and it was called convict leasing . Convict Leasing was a system of penal labor practiced in the southern United States . Convict leasing provided prisoner labor to private parties, such as plantation owners and corporations. The Lessee was responsible for feeding ,clothing and housing the prisoners which was a new form of slavery and once convict leasing faded away a new system was born which was the Jim Crow system that relegated African American to a  permanent second class status and here we are years after the collapse of the old Jim Crow and new system has been born again in America a system of mass incarceration that once again take away millions of poor people overwhelmly poor people of color of the very right supposedly won in the civil rights movement and instead of talking about it we just tired to move passed it after the civil rights was passed on and the civil rights laws they tried to play it off and because they didn’t deal with it back then that racial difference continued and it turned into this presumption of dangerousness and guilt that follows every black and Brown person wherever they are , “In 1850, Slavery was common throughout the southern United States , with concentrations in Georgia , South Carolina and Mississippi . A similar pattern is reflected in the number of American incarceration in 2000.” If there was a shortfall in the workforce , local law enforcement authorities simply made more arrest whether a crime was actually made or not . “ once the system of mass incarceration began to grow , it became quickly apparent that a lot of money could be made . 

Many people don’t realize that Jim Crow laws still exist today, studies show that the Empire States constitutional history , “Jim crow in New York” traces the current criminal imprison law to a century-long effort to keep African -American citizens out of the voting booth. And as the reports makes it very disturbingly clear: New York’s felon voting bar has been deep roots in jim crow . More than 108,000 New Yorkers are currently imprisoned under the law . And 80% of those who have lost the right to vote are people of color . Here is some history , for about 100 years , New York lawmakers found many ways to keep African Americans from voting . First, of course there was slavery. After emancipation, two laws continued to be especially effective: one that required blacks- and only blacks – to own a certain amount of real property in order to vote, and another that allowed countries to imprison those convicted of “infamous crimes”. African American suffrage was the subject of much debate at the 1821 and 1846 constitutional conventions , and the transcripts contain some astounding racist rhetoric . One theme that occurs again and again I cian alleged criminal propensity among African American as reason to restrict the black vote . In a refrain that echoes throughout the century-long suffrage debate , delegate Samuel young implore in 1821: “ look to your jails and penitentiaries. By whom are filled ? By the very race whom is now proposed to clot with the power of deciding upon your political right” . During slavery and the period when the property requirements were imposed on African American, New York’s criminal disenfranchisement law was merely permissive : that is , the state constitution left it to the discretion of individual counties weather to disenfranchise those with criminal convictions. The same year the fifteenth amendment force New York to eliminate its property requirement , the state amended the constitution from allowing countries to decide weather to disenfranchise those convicted of crimes , to requiring disenfranchisement throughout the state of anyone convicted of an “infamous crime.”