The new Jim Crow: mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness / Michelle What has changed since the collapse of Jim Crow has less to do with the. Chapter 3: The Color of Justice. Chapter 4: The Cruel Hand. Chapter 5: The New Jim Crow. Chapter 6: The Fire This Time. Organizing Guide: Building a Movement to End The New Jim Crow A free, downloadable pdf of the guide is available to groups that have read or are planning.

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I state my basic thesis in the introduction to my book, The New Jim Crow: http://; see also. Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a. PDF | On Sep 12, , Robert C. Hauhart and others published The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

So the criminal justice system faces a question — if we are to wage this war, how can we get the most success? And given that incentives push toward number of arrests and convictions, how do we maximize these metrics? The answer, it seems, was to use the flexibility of discretion in ways that heavily disadvantaged black people.

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The media supported the idea of crack being the predominant drug problem, and the imagery associated crack with black people.

So a public consensus formed that drug criminals were predominantly black. This widespread bias inevitably affected law enforcement as well, especially among those who do NOT consciously identify as racists. This was motivated by testimony that crack was far more addictive and dangerous to society which has since been debunked. Clearly this makes it easier to arrest and convict a crack user than a cocaine user. Police concentrated drug arrests in poor urban mostly black areas, rather than wealthier white neighborhoods, where militant action might induce political backlash.

This was supposedly justified by higher rates of violent crime in these neighborhoods and ease of policing open areas, but this has since been debunked — the amount of police attention focused on black areas and crack was disproportionate to the of crime reports and hospitalizations.

Whites are stopped far less frequently than black people, but are more likely to have committed a crime. But whites were twice as likely to be carrying illegal drugs. If you stopped and searched races proportionately, this rate of crime might even out. Arrests lead to fingerprinting and entering in criminal databases, which increases likelihood of conviction and strength of punishment later.

This reinforces more arrests, causing a vicious cycle more on these later. Prosecutors have immense discretion in whether to press charges, how many to press, and to dismiss a case. Part of the issue is unconscious bias and differences in empathy.

The same drug user might be considered a dangerous gang banger with inherent disrespect for the law, or merely a kid experimenting with drugs who had a rough childhood.

This might change based on race. And everyone involved — police officers, prosecutors, judges, the public — may be subject to this bias. During voir dire jury selection , lawyers are able to strike jurors with peremptory challenges. Lawyers are unable to strike jurors on grounds of race. However, it becomes trivial to concoct non-racial reasons to remove jurors of a particular race — clothing worn, hairstyles, age, education, poverty, etc.

Thus achieving an all-white jury is easy, especially because few minorities are in the jury pool. As explained later, aggravating this discretion is the fact that 1 black people especially felons are less likely to be registered voters or own cars, thus not being part of the jury pool, 2 because black people are targeted for crime, a substantial fraction of all black people have had personal indirect experience with criminal justice, which can be grounds for dismissal.

So racial bias was likely affecting drug arrest targeting. Unfortunately, the courts have made it difficult to challenge racial bias. As explained in Chapter 2, the courts allowed stops, even racially biased ones, as long as there was probable cause for some reason other than explicit race.

In McCleskey v. Kemp, the Supreme Court ruled that statistical evidence of bias was insufficient for discrimination — there needed to be clear evidence of conscious racial bias. In this case in particular, the court believed that studying 2, cases with different personnel, officials, judges, and jurors did not present a clear enough explicit common mechanism.

However, rules bar litigants from obtaining information on prosecution motives and jury deliberations.

Ironically, the catch became: to prove their case, the litigant needed evidence that is only obtainable upon winning a case. Without the evidence, the litigant loses the case, which prevents them from gaining the evidence. Part of the motivation was the reluctance to question the integrity of the entire system. If drug war was shown to be racially biased, it might open up contests in the death penalty, life sentences, and other deeply embedded issues.

Questioning prosecutorial discretion would upend countless cases.

Thus one could stop and search for any factor correlated with race — clothing, age, and location. Even something as seemingly impartial as prior criminal record is not race-neutral — since blacks are so much more likely to have criminal records.

Best Summary+PDF: The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander

Title VI prohibits federally funded programs , like police departments, from discriminating on race. However, in Alexander v. Sandoval, the Supreme Court ruled that private citizens and groups cannot sue on Title VI grounds — only the federal government could sue. Thus racial profiling challenges have disappeared. Each Supreme Court decision obviously has trickle-down effects on federal and appellate courts.

This alone is massively destructive, but the penalties imposed on felons entrenched the New Jim Crow system. By making housing and finances difficult for convicted felons, they became far more likely to reoffend, and their ability to correct the system was neutralized by voting or serving on juries. As Michelle Alexander repeats throughout the book, felons have important civil rights stripped away.

These were likely well-reasoned laws passed to disincentivize drug use, but they have a crippling effect on the ability of the subjugated to buck the system. Here is a summary of the penalties that ex-felons face: Housing Housing increases the rate of employment and decreases recidivism.

Public housing can evict not only felons, but also any tenant even believed to be engaged in criminal activity or having prior arrests, regardless of convictions. Obviously this is aggravated by the greater rate of arrests of colored people. Agency ratings and funding consider effectiveness of applicant screening as a factor. Tenants are held liable for behavior of their children and guests, even without knowledge of the activity.

For instance, grandmothers can be evicted if their grandchildren smoke weed in the parking lot. All this makes families reluctant to allow their criminal relatives to stay with them, which pushes criminals into homelessness. Employment Criminals are already disadvantaged in finding employment, with most dropping out of high school and being illiterate. But almost all states allow private employers to discriminate on past criminal convictions or arrests. Licensing for many professions prohibits felons.

The professions that are less customer facing and most willing to hire felons — construction, manufacturing — are disappearing due to outsourcing.

They might spend more money getting to work than they earn. Ironically, activism to remove questions about criminal history from job applications may backfire. Without this explicit information, employers may discriminate against non-criminal black people using proxies for criminality, like receipt of public assistance, gaps in work history — or effectively treat all black men as though they have criminal records. They may also be subject to child support.

In addition, late fees and payment plan fees but people further into the hole. In addition, many states suspend driving privileges for missed debt payments, which further complicates employment. In addition, Clinton signed a 5-year limit on welfare and a permanent bar on drug-related felony convictions. Perversely, in some jurisdictions, people may choose to go to jail to reduce their debt burdens.

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Perversely, inmates work in prison, and the government and employers benefit from their low-paid labor, recalling the antebellum practice of imprisoning former slaves to work off their debts Naturally, to escape the financial trap, many turn to crime. Voting Nearly all states prohibit felons from voting while incarcerated.

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Most states withhold right to vote to parolees. In 9 states , ex-felons must apply to have voting rights restored, typically after they pay all fines. In contrast, half of Europe allow all prisoners to vote. Furthermore, ex-offenders may be reluctant to vote because of fear of attracting attention with the government.

Naturally, many ex-felons never regain the right to vote. Theoretically, these votes may have influenced very close elections. Insidiously, new prisons occur in mostly white, rural areas, which benefit from inflated population totals and thus representation in state government.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – By Michelle Alexander

Other permissions barred Enlist in military Psychology and stigma Ex-offenders may never escape the prison label, face social exile, and feel constantly like the system is weighed against them.

This can weigh on them and eventually deplete all hope. Thus they underestimate the extent of incarceration, deepen the isolation of ex-offenders, and limit healing and mobilization of social action. Naturally, ex-offenders may seek those who understand them — other criminals — and join gangs. Yet if black people really feel shame, why is gangsta culture celebrated? Michelle Alexander argues that when people feel hopelessly stigmatized, they embrace the identity as the only viable route to self-esteem.

This is an act of rebellion. Unfortunately it perpetuates racial stereotypes for both black and non-black viewers. Draw an analogy to black minstrel shows.

Obama lectures on too many black fathers missing, and black women complain about not finding good black men, but they rarely point to a major cause — mass incarceration. Even worse, the war on drugs and mass incarceration is now a fact of life, and racial stereotypes are now embraced broadly, even by some black people.

Possibly to resolve cognitive dissonance, people argue that criminals chose to commit criminal actions, and they deserve the punishment. The New Jim Crow is a birdcage, a set of structural arrangements that subjugates a race politically, socially, and economically.

In summary, the New Jim Crow: Uses the War on Drugs to arrest large numbers of black men, through strong financial incentives and legal protection of discretion that may be racially biased. In essence, black men are made criminals at higher rates than white men, despite not having significantly higher rates of drug crime.

Hands down disproportionately harsh sentences to black men and limits effective legal representation. Imposes sanctions on ex-criminals outside of prison that prevent reintegration and encourage recidivism. The New Jim Crow bears many similarities to the old Jim Crow — the desire of white elites to exploit the vulnerabilities of poor whites; legalized discrimination; political disenfranchisement.

Here are less obvious parallels to Jim Crow: Racial segregation During Jim Crow, segregation compartmentalized black experience from whites, making it easier to maintain racial stereotypes and deny suffering. Some historians argue concentration of blacks in urban neighborhoods is a consequence of deliberate government policies meant to perpetuate segregation. Mass incarceration does the same, stuffing black men in prisons out of sight, even further away than Jim Crow segregation did.

Prisoners returning home concentrate further in poor neighborhoods, which have limited resources. Symbolic production of race Slavery defined being black as being a slave. Jim Crow defined being black as being a second-class citizen. Mass incarceration defines being black as being criminal.

Absence of racial hostility Things have improved in many respects — a majority of Americans oppose racial discrimination. Some may use this to claim that things are fine as is. It would be impossible to imagine mass incarceration of young white men. White victims of racial caste Some reject the problem based on the idea that whites are also harmed by the war on drugs and incarceration, as opposed to clear white superiority in Jim Crow times. This makes it easier to see the criminal justice system as colorblind.

Who loses? Nearly everyone. Many reformers rightly point out that an ankle bracelet is preferable to a prison cell.

Yet I find it difficult to call this progress. As I see it, digital prisons are to mass incarceration what Jim Crow was to slavery. I would too. But hopefully we can now see that Jim Crow was a less restrictive form of racial and social control, not a real alternative to racial caste systems. Similarly, if the goal is to end mass incarceration and mass criminalization, digital prisons are not an answer. If that scenario sounds far-fetched, keep in mind that mass incarceration itself was unimaginable just 40 years ago and that it was born partly out of well-intentioned reforms — chief among them mandatory sentencing laws that liberal proponents predicted would reduce racial disparities in sentencing.

While those laws may have looked good on paper, they were passed within a political climate that was overwhelmingly hostile and punitive toward poor people and people of color, resulting in a prison-building boom, an increase in racial and class disparities in sentencing, and a quintupling of the incarcerated population. Fortunately, a growing number of advocates are organizing to ensure that important reforms, such as ending cash bail, are not replaced with systems that view poor people and people of color as little more than commodities to be bought, sold, evaluated and managed for profit.

In July, more than civil rights, faith, labor, legal and data science groups released a shared statement of concerns regarding the use of pretrial risk assessment instruments; numerous bail reform groups, such as Chicago Community Bond Fund, actively oppose the expansion of e-carceration. If our goal is not a better system of mass criminalization, but instead the creation of safe, caring, thriving communities, then we ought to be heavily investing in quality schools, job creation, drug treatment and mental health care in the least advantaged communities rather than pouring billions into their high-tech management and control.

Fifty years ago, the Rev.This important new resource offers examples from this and other movements, time-tested organizing techniques, and vision and inspiration to challenge, encourage, and motivate. Licensing for many professions prohibits felons. Some may use this to claim that things are fine as is.

Foucault and Alexander, then, sound a similar note.

Beat officers were given freedom to arrest for drugs offences whomever they wished, with highly discriminatory consequences.