Incarcerating a Generation

Incarceration of a People

The disproportionate numbers of African Americans in the prison system is a very serious issue, which is not usually discussed in its totality. However, it is quite important to address the matter because it ultimately will have an effect on African Americans as a whole.
Of the many tribulations that plague Americans today, the increase in the amount of African American men and women in prisons is unbelievable. It would be na´ve to say that the increase is due to the fact that more African Americans are committing crimes now than before. When in actuality it has very prevalent connections to a systematic plan to incarcerate a race of people by creating harsh drug laws to imprison mostly African American, non-violent drug offenders. Since these drug laws were enforced strictly, African Americans have filled our prison systems in outstanding numbers. Consequently causing an overcrowded prison. Private companies, which contain private contracts with the prison, use the inmates as a source of free or cheap labor. One may ask themselves, “Is this ethical?” Absolutely not. They allow the public to believe that it is beneficial because has no expense to tax payers, however the only real benefit is to the company itself. The company has managed to attain free or cheap labor while simultaneously increasing their net profits.

When the values of a people and the ethics of a country are systematically broken down, one begins to ponder about why the preposterous numbers are what they are. African Americans constitute about half of the prison inmates when they only make up about 13% of the United States population. There are many speculations as to why this is so. Some blame poverty or lack of opportunity. Others say police concentrate on poor urban areas “because street crimes such as drug dealing are more visible and residents there require more police protection.”
In 1950 whites made up 65% of all state and federal inmates, while blacks made up only 35%. Today, the opposite is true with 35% of the prison population made up of whites. Specialists have speculated that by the end of the year 2000, roughly one million African American adults will be behind bars. That will constitute for almost one in every 14 black men being in jail. And as of December 31, 1999 there were 1,366,721 African American men and women under federal and state jurisdiction. This implies that there has been a 3.4% increase since December 1,1998. “The face of crime to white America is now that of a black man” says David Bositis, Center for Political and Economic Studies, senior political analyst. While incarceration statistics have skyrocketed, crime rates have increased much more slowly. Politicians sought out political points by enforcing tough on crime laws. By doing this the politicians increase public panic by portraying the “urban underclass” as young black males.

The Prison Industrial Complex

The Prison Industrial Complex can be described as a contract or lease from a private corporation that allows them to contract convict labor. The government argues that they are merely converting public tax money when in reality it has only provided profit for private corporations. It serves two purposes. The first is to neutralize a portion of the population and the other is to continue exploiting areas where mainly African American prisoners are prevalent. Since private contracts have come into play, there has been an increase in the number of prisoners and an increase in imprisonment costs.
The prison industrial complex is not only made up of a set of interest groups, it is also a very manipulative way of thinking. The money hungry corporations are corrupting Americans criminal justice system leading the public to believe that the prisoners are providing a service. When in fact they are increasing their own profits.
A prime example of the prison industrial complex can be observed in major cities such as California Texas, Tennessee and New York where private prison countries have thrived and trends have reached extremes. The United States of America is making money in our prison systems off the back of African Americans. Economically, prison stocks are doing pretty well on the stock market. This very well could be a reason why politicians are pushing for the privatization of the prison