Jim Crow Laws: Problems In The United States

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Jim Crow Laws: Problems in the United States


The United States has a big mass imprisonment problem. Mainly of people of color. It can often be part of an unfair system and bring great repercussions inside and outside the jail. You can damage the prisoner’s families and limit opportunities after they leave prison. Mass imprisonment has created a great distrust of the police between the Latin and black community. To begin, the United States has more people in prisons than any other country to point to Michelle Alexander.

In the United States, an investigation has been conducted that shows that people of color have been imprisoned much more than white in recent years. They work for long hours for little or no money and abuse. While some of those in jail can be white, from the statistical point of view, there are a greater number of blacks and Latinos that fulfill life imprisonment without probation or probation. In fact, the Justice Office has declared that one in three black men and one in six Latin men go to jail. Meanwhile, only one of each seventeen White men will go to jail.

It has been shown that the mass imprisonment of color people began when President Reagan expressed the war on drugs. Reagan and his administration were responsible for perpetuating and lead. In fact, sociologists. Fleury-Steiner and Longazel showed that this ‘war on drugs was a campaign initiated by Republicans just after the civil rights movement labeled blacks, specifically men, as criminals. Many even compare this movement with the laws of Jim Crow or better labeled as the ‘new laws of Jim Crow.’

Many sociologists such as Sinha, Fleury-Steiner and Longazel mention the book by Michelle Alexanders ‘The new laws of Jim Crow’ to support his investigation. First, these laws were established to prevent blacks from exercising certain rights. Alexander says, “no other country in the world imprisons so many of its racial or ethnic minorities. The United States imprisons a higher percentage of its black population that South Africa did so in the Apartheid Apogee. 

Many young blacks are in cells and comply with hard sentences. Over the years, criminals cannot exercise certain rights. For example, how to buy a house, vote or work on certain jobs. He also explains that the war on drugs was not for hard drugs and states’ on the contrary, arrests for possession of marijuana, a less harmful drug than tobacco or alcohol, represented almost 80 percent of the growth of arrestsFor drugs in the 1990s’. In fact, many of those arrested are not accused of serious crimes.


When mass imprisonment began, as Joseph Muller shows, there was a great racial disparity;It was obvious who was being marginalized. To support his studio Muller refers to a 2006 survey where Afro -statements about why they thought the young black men were more likely to go to jail. 

They used seven declared reasons, including black men who grow in poverty, the police are more likely to attack black men than whites, schools are failing black man and others blaming blacks and their surroundings. In the Kaiser survey, which Müller refers, he showed that it is likely that more black guilty of police partiality for mass imprisonment. 

The reason for using this survey is to show distrust between the black community and the United States justice system. In addition, they think the system is too hard. Muller studies show that this imprisonment of African Americans causes great distrust in the justice system. That same distrust can cause an increase in crime. Distrust is generally to state institutions.

 Most people in prisons are not in federal prisons, but state and local. Christopher Müller and Daniel Schrage did a study to show distrust. They selected forty -three states and began investigating the correlation between distrust and the highest imprisonment rates. He showed that the highest imprisonment rates are associated with greater distrust in the justice system.

Distrust and feeling of abandonment come from a lot of experience. Crutchfield observes ‘This feeds the historical experience of many citizens respectful of the law that live in these communities that, in what respects the system, are all criminals. The majority of people living in color communities are respectful citizens of the law that have little on the path of other housing options. They feel that they are arrested, bothered and not respected by the police as often as those who are really committing crimes ‘. Much of distrust occurs due to the biased opinions of the forces of the order. 

A big problem that Fleury-Steiner and Longaze point out is that mass imprisonment continues when George Hw Bush became president and people began calling the United States criminal system a form of oppression. Even naming them the ‘new laws of Jim Crow.’United States has one of the world’s largest criminal systems and is notably racially divided. 

Klara Sinha says that ‘another factor that certainly feeds the problem is the privatization of prisons, which has made them a financially profitable market and an investment opportunity, especially in times of economic crisis: high unemployment and / or povertyThey are linked to high imprisonment and, therefore, to high profitability ‘. This is what she described as the social logic behind the black mass imprisonment. In recent years, many have begun to talk about how they believe it is an oppressive system.

The problem worsens within prisons for people of color. Sociologists show that the treatment of black men in prisons is precarious. Fleury-Steiner and Longazel show certain experiences in the prisons of the United States that include containment, exploitation, coercion, isolation and brutality.

 In containment, prisoners are treated as objects instead of humans and are deprived of their basic needs. They are exploited by doing forced work for a low price without hardly benefits. This is related to coercion because they have no choice but to do. If they do not do what they are forced, there may be severe punishment. 

Then, most of the time the decisions taken by the staff of the mandatory prison to the prisoners in the conditions in which they are deprived of all human contact and sensory stimuli. That can cause great damage to prisoners when they try to join society after their sentence, especially if they are innocent. 

Finally, prisoners experience different forms of brutality. They live with the potential to be victims of violence committed by their captors and run the risk of retaliation for exposing such violence. Guards and people with authority often feel they have the right to damage prisoners because prisoners do something they don’t like. especially if they are innocent. Finally, prisoners experience different forms of brutality. 

They live with the potential to be victims of violence committed by their captors and run the risk of retaliation for exposing such violence. Guards and people with authority often feel they have the right to damage prisoners because prisoners do something they don’t like. especially if they are innocent. Finally, prisoners experience different forms of brutality. They live with the potential to be victims of violence committed by their captors and run the risk of retaliation for exposing such violence. Guards and people with authority often feel they have the right to damage prisoners because prisoners do something they don’t like.

In one of his famous sociologist du Bois says "the cost of freedom is less than the price of repression". Although there was talk of discrimination in 1903, you can still use modern times. Mass imprisonment and police brutality have been a big problem in recent years. From the beginning of the ‘War on Drugs’ of Reagan, people of color, sometimes even innocent, have been imprisoned for a long time. The time they spend in jail is usually longer than necessary in most cases, people go to jail for minor crimes and are generally black men with limited education and low income.

In his book ‘The Philadelphia Negro’, analyzes the high crime rates among blacks. It also points to harmful oppression and ridicule against blacks and how whites ‘are unconscious of the existence of such a spiteful feeling’. He also talks about selfish white man, and how they would benefit if they were economically stable and healthy. Therefore, the smartest thing would be to help black men. However, in the twentieth century and now in the 21st century, I will not do the white man, it will also be very difficult to change their minds and their selfish needs. (Du Bois 1899)

The sociologist Robert D Crutchfield mentioned that many believed that with President Obama, the first black president, that racial inequalities in prisons would decrease, however, that was not the case. Many US states. UU. They still had a lot of blacks and other people in prisons. In his book, the color of mass imprisonment affirms “Another problem that adds to the injustice of the justice system is that once convicted, African Americans receive longer sentences compared to white criminals. 

The United States sentences commission declared that, in the federal system, African -American criminals receive sentences that are 10% longer than white criminals for the same crimes. It was reported that African Americans have 21% more likely to receive mandatory minimal sentences than white defendants and 20% more likely to be sentenced to prison. ‘In fact, a study shows that the police choose to pursue drug outdoor markets with minority traffickers and ignore those where whites sell.

In 2003, Begoña Arextagaga wrote that the criminal system produces and reproduces the State as a powerful corporate object: it can discipline its citizens and can delegitimize marginalized social groups that could be interested in changing the relations of being able to criminalize them by criminalizing them. While I may have written this a while ago, this is still applied years later. 

According to justice office statistics, approximately 2.2 million adults were held in the United States prisons at the end of 2016. To continue with the thinking of Arextagas, Sinha says that ‘the racial criminal system can be interpreted as a means to mask real power relations by frameting a social problem as a crime under the disguise of the public interest’ ’. In other words, the United States justice system uses war on drugs as a way of exercising its power over its citizens.

Other sociologists, such as Chung and Hepburn, have pointed out that mass imprisonment has a great effect on families. An example is that prisoners in the prisons of the United States generally have financial debts that are inherited from their children and family. Many color families with a relative in jail will have financial problems and can be a difficult time for not only the person in prison but also for color families. 

These struggles can be a main cause in the distrust of the justice system and, as mentioned above, this distrust can cause an increase in imprisonment rates. This distrust of the police tends to take African Americans to try to avoid the police. However, this can cause a problem because it creates suspicions for the police. 

In fact, Muller and Schrage discovered that “ethnographic evidence and interviews have shown that the suspicion of African Americans and the evasion of the police can lead to it to form stretched impressions of the level of crime in the African -American communities.”This is a big problem that leads to mass imprisonment. Police form biased opinions, especially in people of color.

Mass imprisonment has been a big problem and racial injustice in the United States. Not only does it create great distrust in the justice system, mainly black and Latinos, but also affect families. You can leave them fighting financially and in a feeling of abandonment. The same distrust can cause them to avoid the police, giving this a wrong idea. While this whole issue of imprisonment may have begun as a ‘war on drugs’, now it has to do with small crimes. Even within prisons there is a prison mistreatment.

Crutchfield also describes that "the overwhelming majority of inmates will be released from prison after serving their sentences, and the nation has fought on how to help them re -enter society" prison affects them, it will no longer be easy to get a job or a house. In a situation of losing-perder, they take the matter in their own hands creating movements like "the life of blacks matters". The United States Criminal System is a broken system. All these sociologists agree that the events in the United States are part of a discriminatory system.


In recent years there has been a decrease in thirty -three states of this racial injustice. This is due to a change in policies. Thanks to these Sociologist Mark Jay says ‘As a result, prison and prison admissions have decreased around 25 percent from their maximum point at the initial decade of this century’ ’. 

President Barack Obama was very helpful for the cause in his second term, however, it has not yet been enough. Studies have shown that even if all accused of a drug crime were released, the prison population would only decrease by 14 percent. In the last two years, the war on drugs is no longer an excuse to imprison people of color. At present they have begun to be small minor crimes with severe punishment. 

Jay cites the American Friends Service Committee to show that there are other types of prisons. In fact, ‘there are four pillars of community corrections alternatives to which local governments increasingIntermediates, residential centers of Reengrician (intermediate houses) and electronic monitoring ‘. The prisons are transforming and, although there seems to be fewer imprisoned people, they are still in similar institutions.


  • Alexander, M (2020). New Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York: New Press.
  • Fleury-Steiner, b., & Longazel, J. (2016). The Pains of Mass Imprisonment. London: Routledge.
  • Muller, c., & Schrage, D. (2014). Mass Imprisonment and Trust in the Law. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 651 (1), 139-158.
  • Chung, p. H., & Hepburn, P. (2018). Mass Imprisonment and The Extended Family. Sociological Science, 5, 335-360.
  • Crutchfield, r. D., & WEEKS, G. A. (2019, May 3). The Effects of Mass Incarceration on Communities of Color.
  • Ritzer, g. AND. EITHER. R. G. AND., & Ritzer, G. AND. EITHER. R. G. AND. (2011). W.AND.B. Du Bois. In classical sociological theory. McGraw Hill.
  • Jay, m. (2019, December 16). From mass incarceration to mass coercion.

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