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Incarceration is one of the forms of community correction for committing crimes. This correction takes place in facilities referred to as prisons. These facilities are designed to house inmates securely, usually on long term basis. The facilities segregate female from male inmates, and, in addition, hold prisoners in varying custodial levels. For instance, habitual offenders are separated from the less dangerous criminals as well as from juvenile wrongdoers. Available statistics indicates that African-Americans have a higher chance of being arrested, prosecuted, and convicted of low-level crimes than white Americans (Gresham and Sheldon 15). Many critics of the justice system have argued that the scenario prevails because the society has been accustomed to viewing blacks as criminals irrespective of their true character.
A substantial number of non-blacks consider African-Americans to be aggressive and violent law breakers. As such, more blacks are likely to be put under surveillance than the members of other races. Such a measure raises the possibility of arrest and conviction. These convictions lead to detrimental consequences in the society some of which includes single parenting, drug abuse, poverty, unemployment, and racial tension. Additionally, incarceration leads to health disorders like delusions, depression, and occasional panicking. These consequences disorient the black community, a situation which makes them dissatisfied with life. As such, they tend to suffer from feelings of guilt and shame, and these feelings heighten the level of criminality in the community, which in effect leads to more people being incarcerated (Heilpern 15).
According to a report released by the Disproportionate Justice Impact Study Commission that analyzed the arrest data for year 2005, more blacks were disproportionately arrested on drug related charges, assault, and rape. The report indicated that 28.5 % of black males and 3.6 % of black females are incarcerated for at least once in a lifetime. Comparing these figures those of the members of the white community suggested that, in America, a black person is, at least, six- to- seven times more probably to be incarcerated than a white person. This is because only 4.4% of the white males and 0.5 % of white females serves jail term in America today. The most common crimes in America today are homicide, murder, and drug possession. Since most members of the black community lack a sufficient level of education and expertise, it is difficult for them to be gainfully employed. This fact alienates them from the wider society, and the dissatisfaction that results drive them into committing a crime. For instance, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, 50 percent of arrests for drug possession involve blacks. However, blacks consider drug peddling as a gainful means of earning a living, and for this reason, most of the drug dealers do not abuse them. In fact, available statistics indicates that of all drug users in the United States, African-Americans represent a mere 12 percent of them (Heilpern).. Nevertheless, since 1990, African-Americans have accounted for over 75 percent of those jailed for possessing drugs. In fact, of all life sentences that are handed down in cases related to drugs, 97.7 percent of them involve members of the black community. There has been rising controversies as to why the whites escape incarceration despite being the community with the most drug users. For example, critics of the justice system in California questions how the bulk of the drug users escape arrest and prosecution, while cases involving petty drug peddlers have been on the rise. For instance, in California, statistics indicates that while 60 percent of drug users are white, 90 percent of all prosecutions involve the blacks (Heilpern).
Incarceration dissociates the black community making it become isolated at a higher rate than the rest of the communities. Despite the rising cases of imprisonment among African Americans, the levels of crime in the society have not subdued. Of the reasons for this observation is that the authorities focus most of its attention toward a section of the society irrespective of the real situation on the ground (Johnson 23). For instance, even in cases when African-American does not pose a serious security threat to the society, the law enforcement officers do not relent harassing them. Additionally, in most states in America, criminal statutes appear to disadvantage African-Americans, and this makes them suffer as a group. For instance, for a person to be released on probation, most justice systems require him to indicate that he will be in gainful employment upon release. This condition is, at times, difficult to fulfill since being an uneducated black, especially with a criminal record, makes an individual unattractive to potential employers (Jones and Fowles 81). Nevertheless, conditions are improving, and indications are that, soon, the society will reduce the level of stigmatization that it attaches to African-Americans.
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