Week 16-SOCY 305

This week in Chapter 9 we read about incarceration issues.  To give us some background, we learned that jails serve inmates on the county level.  There are three main reasons they exist.  The first reason is to hold inmates until their court date or if you can’t make bail or were denied bail.  The second is if you need to make a court appearance because usually jail and the courthouse are physically connected. The last reason jails exist is to hold inmates sentenced to serve time less than one year.  In comparison to prisons, the differences are that prison handle state and federal crimes.  They also hold inmates sentenced to more than year of imprisonment. Prisons hold inmates that have been found guilty of committing crimes in the state were it happened and they have inmates at any custody level.

The Corrections Association of America (CAA) is the largest private corporation  in the prison industry with revenues in 2005 of $1,2 billion.  Goffman coined a phrase called Total Institution to explain the life inside prison.  It states that the inmate is cutoff from any social interaction with other people than the other inmates.   President Richard Nixon gave a formal announcement in 1972 that he would start a campaign for the War on Drug appointing a  Drug Czar position to report back to the President’s executive office. 

Currently in the US, 450,000 out of 2 million inmates are serving time for nonviolent charges.  One surprising statistic I found was that ninety out of 1000 African American males will be incarcerated at some point in their lives.  The author mentioned that there are some advantages that whites gain due to the to mass incarceration of African Americans such as the removal of a large group of men from the labor forced.  Once released from prison, they are no longer able to vote in elections.  

Women are also inmates and they make up 6%-10% of the prison population.  Gender differences in jails and prisons are due to reproductive health, childbearing and childrearing.

Between the years of 1880 and 1930, over 10,000 males were lynched.  In those days, many men were killed due to accusations of rape.  There was no defendant lawyers for  them at that time and the punishment was death.  This myth of the black rapist continues and people use it to justify the high rate of  incarceration for African Americans.  

We are also given a piece this week to read about life after Jim Crow.  It again mentions that a person loses their right to vote after becoming a felon which is a person’ opportunity to voice their concerns within their community.  The author claims we have not ended racial caste in our country but instead redesigned it.

In discussion of the war on drugs, the author also thinks that Raegan other politicians created the crack cocaine epidemic.  Drugs were moved into low income area populated by African Americans.


Mary L. Johnson




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