The mass incarceration of black people is not a new phenomenon. It is as old as the nation itself. One could say that slavery was the precursor to taking away the rights of black people. What we see today is just and evolution of that through later added amendments to the constitution that codify it into law, and remember slavery was a law. The prison system is in many ways like slavery because it is a profit making endeavor on the backs of black people and has very little to do with justice. The fact is that there are more black people in prison than there were in slavery.
Everyone has an opinion on the prison system and incarceration. Some view it as the New Jim Crow and others see nothing wrong with the system at all. Regardless of your position, it makes one wonder about the fairness received by some, namely minorities and the poor, and whether it works for those unable to afford justice. America incarcerates, puts more people in jail than any other country on the planet. This alone tells you that it is a huge cash cow. Just as slavery was created and used to oppress Africans in the prison system is “Slavery”, just by another name.
It is reported in news accounts daily that people are released after spending years incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. Then, there is the sad irony of people being put to death that are innocent who fall into this shameful category. In addition to executing the mentally disabled and life sentences for minors are all a fact of American justice. Also, there is the fact that once released the convicts voting rights are taken away in most cases forever. It is just slavery by another name.
There is a long history of lynchings, chain gangs, and the free labor derived from this unholy system of injustice. It is worth noting the original concept of the police derived from slave catchers. It was not until recently that we witnessed the disproportionate sentencing for crimes such as cocaine vs. crack was clearly unfair! There is also the Stand Your Ground Laws and Stop, and such laws as Frisk that I would compare to the Fugitive Slave Laws championed by the government.
To be clear, it is not my position that law and order or punishment is not necessary. What is disparaging is that the justice system disproportionately affects the minority population of the citizenry. Did you know the clothing worn by our soldiers are made by the cheap labor of the incarcerated? What is more horrendous is that the police are out of control and have become an occupying force that is rewarded for feeding the beast that is the prison industrial complex!
Let me suggest that you read Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow.” Finally, when you work for free, and someone else receives the profit; it is slavery regardless of the new name given to it. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…