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My name is Angie Canas, I am currently enrolled in Hartford Public High School Law & Government. This testimony is being submitted to you the Criminal Justice System Reform Committee, to express how mass incarceration affects the community around me. Mass incarceration affects a lot of people especially minority men. They are put in jails or prisons where in a jail it is a shorter term and are awaiting trial or because of a misdemeanor. Where in prison it is a longer term because of a big crime or state/national felony. This problem of putting people in jails and prisons have started in the 1970’s (allison). In the 1970’s there was about 200,000-300,000 people locked up (Maure&King). Since then we now have 2.2 million people locked up, that is 8 times as much since the 1970’s (Maure&King). The national race data per 100,000 is interesting to look at. The race with the lowest number of people locked up is 412 white men and comparing to the highest which is 2290 black men. This a 1:9 ratio , meaning that for every one white male being locked up, 9 black men are being locked up as well. With the hispanics it is 742 people of his race locked up and this is just only the national data. When looking at these numbers you see that the race being locked up more are the black men. When looking at CT’s data there are 2535 black men locked up and 211 white men as well (Maure&King). That is an incredibly huge difference between the number of people being incarcerated. Between the two races black men are 12 times more likely to be locked up than white men. With hispanics it is a 1 white male for every 6.6 hispanic male being locked up, since the number of people locked up for this race is 1401(Maure&King).
Michelle Alexander and the movie the 13th believe that mass incarceration is a new method of social control over minorities. Michelle alexander is suggesting that we are facing the New Jim Crow, which is giving a right to people to segregate legally based on status of a felon. The imprisonment rates started rising due to the War on Drugs. The War on drugs is when more black males began getting arrested more often than other races. Because of the advocation of war on drugs we have targeted the undercaste, the people who were born into it(Allison). Meaning that the people born into it , are born into getting arrested and locked up more after because of no equal privileges like the social class.( WAS NOT HERE TO WATCH MOVIE).
Now Stephanie Bibas disagrees with Michelle Alexander. He expresses how the New Jim Crow is not correct , Although he admits that the US highest incarceration in the world is only 1/20 world population and 25% world prisoners which is 5/20 (Bibas). The US prison was booming and liberals said it was due to racism and war on drugs, especially long sentences that prisoners received for nonviolent drug crimes. He says that Alexander is wrong on the charges the people received. Only ⅕ of the charges were for drugs (Bibas). So the prison boom was not due to drug arrests.2/3 of the charges on the prisoners are violent and property crimes. Most drug offenders have violent and property crimes. What made in setting laws harder are black democrats because they were afraid , it was not just a white thing (Bibas). The War on drugs was bipartisan because black democrats also participated in enforcing tougher laws since they were being affected as well.
I agree with Michelle Alexander on her view of mass incarceration.The prisons were made by white supremacy, so they had the power and they were locking up a lot of black people. They are incarcerating 8% of its population. Police started using crack as an excuse during the drug on wars to arrest black men. During this time that is when the incarceration rate was rising.
Another reason is that this is the New Jim Crow. Where it is legal to segregate based on the status as a felon on one record. This is when a person gets arrested and the race it targets the most are blacks, where they will be charged with drug charges.
Others may say that is was started by Drug on Wars during 1980’s. That it resulted because of crack cocaine epidemic. Alexander agrees it with the crack epidemic but the government used it as an excuse to start incarcerating people of the black race.
In Conclusion mass incarceration is the New Jim Crow and is used as an excuse for the government to arrest more black people.Mass incarceration has affected the quality of life in urban communities. The results of this caused the children of the mothers or fathers who are in prison run as high as 2.3 million , 3% of under age 18 population (Mortone 2005 or clear ?). Meaning that a big portion of children/teens have parents in prison right now. This is very high that it also affects black children.20% of them has a father with a history of being incarcerated. This can affect the child cause now they have a higher risk of being incarcerated later on in their life.
It would be appreciated if the committee would advocate to other communities about the injustice of mass incarceration and how we the people can help in more ways than one to lower these rates. For example Programs should be funded by the city to help families who have a loved one incarcerated get the help and support they need to go through this situation in the best way possible. With programs being set up to help families and friends, we can reduce the rates of children being more likely to be incarcerated when they get older. We the community can help others in similar situations so they do not go through this without any information that can help them. This is where our start should be so we can grow along the way and raise an awareness to many other communities.
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