The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Category: Social Justice
Author Michelle Alexander-West is the wife of a United States federal prosecutor and an attorney in her own right. In this book, she does a truly remarkable job of drilling down through levels of strategy, policy and procedure that form the complex web of injustice that has brought the United States to the terrible point of imprisoning over 1% of our adult population and detaining 25% of all prisoners everywhere in the world … many of whom have been jailed for minor offenses, such as carrying a couple of marijuana cigarettes. Over 3200 non-violent offenders have been jailed for life for non-violent offenses like that, or for stealing an item of clothing worth $150. Unjust imprisonment is part of the intentional destruction of the lives of people of color.
Many of the forms of discrimination we considered left behind in the Jim Crow Era are legal again once you’ve been branded a criminal. These include being denied the right to vote, automatically excluded from juries, and legally discriminated against in employment, housing, and access to public education – all public benefits … (and she talks about the) “system of laws, policies, and practices in the United States today that operate to lock people of color, particularly poor people of color, living in ghetto communities, in an inferior second-class status for life.”