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ENGW 102 Section 12
11 September 2017
African Americans and their White Counterparts in the Justice System
According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), African Americans are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of whites. African Americans and Hispanics make up thirty-two percent of the United States population but comprise fifty-six percent of all incarcerated people was also determined by the NAACP. This trend unfortunately not only goes for adults but as well as children. The NAACP suggests that nationwide, African American children represent thirty-two percent of the children arrested, forty-two percent of children who are detained and fifty-two percent of children whose cases are judicially waived to criminal courts. Children are supposed to be the future of the world. How is this possible if more than half of all children nationwide are imprisoned? Sentences imposed on black males in the federal system are nearly twenty percent longer than those imposed on white males convicted of similar crimes was reported by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). ACLU also reported in the federal system, 71.3% of the 1,230 life without parole (LWOP) prisoners are black. This quite frankly amazes me not because blacks are subjected to longer terms in prison, but rather to the mass effect that has been tolerated and allowed. How are local, state and federal governments still able to get away with the mass incarceration of African Americans in 2017?
My father earlier this year was arrested for a crime and was not able to obtain bail. The day after I found out that my dad was not going to be able to get out of jail, I saw on the news a white man who allegedly murdered someone was released on bail. My father did not kill anyone nor is he a threat to society and was denied bail but a white man who allegedly killed another person is not a menace to society. Due to the incarceration of my father, he missed my senior prom, my graduation from high school and my big announcement to where I was going to attend school. This New Year's Eve, I will be turning the big eighteen and my father will still be in jail awaiting trial. My father and I were extremely close and it hurts not being able to share the moments I dreamt of since I was a little girl with him by my side. I know this not only hurt me but also my mother. My parents have been married for twenty-seven years and I know not being able to wake up next to the man you love hurts. My mother is a strong woman and she tries her best not to let my younger brother and I see her hurting. To see her breakdown in tears in front of us I know there is pain and hurt there. In no means am I suggesting that African Americans should not have to serve time for the crime they committed, what I am suggesting is there should not be this big gap between the percent of African Americans and whites that are in jail.
Why is it that African Americans spend more time in jail than their white counterparts? When one becomes imprisoned it not only affects the inmate, it also affects their loved ones as well. My main mission is to determine the extent in which the incarceration of a parent affects children and spouses. To do so, I plan to try to work with Howard University's Psychology Department and conduct a study to properly analyze the results.
I know there are limitations to this study. For one, this issue of there being the possible emotional disconnect is result of the system keeping blacks of the streets. This cannot truly be fixed until we all realize as Americans that racism is still a prominent issue in today's society. This issue cannot be truly resolved until we as American people are able to see that we are the same. We in terms of the mission of this project possess some of the same demons. The amount of melanin present in defendant's skin cells should not determine the length of time
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