Michelle Alexander Quotes
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The nature of the criminal justice system has changed. It is no longer primarily concerned with the prevention and punishment of crime, but rather with the management and control of the dispossessed.
We have not ended racial caste in America, we have merely redesigned it.
Many offenders are tracked for prison at early ages, labeled as criminals in their teen years, and then shuttled from their decrepit, underfunded inner city schools to brand-new, high-tech prisons.
There are more African Americans under correctional control, in prison or jail, on probation or parole, than were enslaved in 1850 a decade before the civil war began.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
Nothing has contributed more to the systematic mass incarceration of people of color in the United States than the War on Drugs
Sociologists have frequently observed that governments use punishment primarily as a tool of social control, and thus the extent or severity of punishment is often unrelated to actual crime patterns.
Mass incarceration is the most pressing racial justice issue of our time.
Once you have been branded a criminal or felon, you are typically trapped for life.
The rules and reasons the political system employs to enforce status relations of any kind, including racial hierarchy, evolve and change as they are challenged.
My great crime wasn't refusing to represent an innocent man; my great crime was imagining that there was some path to racial justice that did not include those we view as 'guilty'.
What does this system seem designed to do? As I see it, it seems designed to send people right back to prison, which is what happens about 70% of the time.
People on probation and parole are typically denied the right to vote, and in eleven states people are denied the right to vote even after completion of their sentences.
One of those lies is that all we need to do is elect more Democrats. No. That actually isn't going to get us to the Promised Land.
Nationwide about 1 in 7 black men are temporarily or permanently disenfranchised due to felon disenfranchisement laws.
A massive new penal system has emerged in the past few decades - a penal system unprecedented in world history. It is a system driven almost entirely by race and class.
Prison guard unions have become the powerful political forces in some states, particularly California.
People charged with drug offenses, though, are typically poor people of color. They are routinely charged with felonies and sent to prison.
Nationwide, 1 in 3 black men can expect to serve time behind bars, but the rates are far higher in segregated and impoverished black communities.
Our system of mass incarceration is better understood as a system of racial and social control than a system of crime prevention or control.
Discrimination in public benefits is also perfectly legal. Under federal law, people convicted of drug felonies are deemed ineligible even for food stamps.
Most people seem to assume that this dramatic surge in imprisonment was due to a corresponding surge in crime, particularly violent crime.
By waging the drug war and "getting tough" almost exclusively in the 'hood, we've managed to create a vast new racial undercaste in an astonishingly short period of time.
There can be many bars, wires that keep a person trapped. All of them don't have to have been created for the purpose of harming or caging the bird, but they still serve that function.
Now that's hard for many people to believe, given that the media image of a drug dealer is a black kid standing on the street corner with his pants sagging down.
Our prison population quintupled in a thirty year period of time. Not doubled or tripled - quintupled. We went from a prison and jail population of about 300,000 to now more than 2 million.
In my view, the critical questions in this era of mass incarceration are: What disturbs us? What seems contrary to expectation? Who do we really care about?
The mass criminalization of white men would disturb us to the core.
I say we haven't ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.
Most criminologists today will acknowledge that crime rates and incarceration rates in the United States have had relatively little to do with each other.
We are in a social and political context in which the norm is to punish poor folks of color rather than to educate and empower them with economic opportunity.
For many, whether they go to prison or not is far less about the choices they make and far more about what kind of cage they're born into.
Incarceration rates - especially black incarceration rates - have soared regardless of whether crime has been going up or down in any given community or the nation as a whole.
We must muster the courage, we must find the will, we must do what is necessary to build a truly transformative movement that will end the history and cycle of caste in America.
Of course it would make far more sense to invest in education and job creation in poor communities of color, rather than spend billions of dollars caging them and monitoring them upon release.
I do believe that something akin to a racial caste system is alive and well in America.
We can have no significant understanding of any culture unless we also know the silences that were intentionally created and guaranteed along with it.– Gerald Sider.