Introduction to Sociology SSS100.1958
Social Problems and Social Movements
“ But the reality is that there are more African Americans under correctional control in prison or jail, on probation or parole , than were enslaved in 1850,a decade before the civil war began ( Alexander P8)”. That is a shocking number for me. I never thought about this kind of social problems before. First I think I am not black people; second I don’t think my family or friends will commit the crime in the future. It was far away from my life. But as one of the members in society, we have obligations to know and pay attention to it. First step is to improve social awareness and let people face it directly. Then we can unite together and find a effective solution. This article gave me a comprehensive u derstandong of “ mass incarceration” , all those problems originally came from the economic inequalities.
“Do you think the children in this school are getting what we’d
get in a nice section of St. Louis?”
I note that we are in a different state and city.
“Are we citizens of East St. Louis or America?” she asks.
The girl in a white jersey with the messages DO THE RIGHT
THING on the front raises her hand. and asked the journalist if the children of the school will get what they receiving if their school was in better location or neighborhood of St. Louis.
I am in shock by the fact the I am reading about a city in United States of America with so much social, environmental, political economically and health problems, all at the same time and it seen to me the each social problem gets bigger and bigger and more out of control as the journalist reported, no one wants to take the initiative and responsibility to help the city of St. Louis and their children. My question is, Where was the President of United States when all of this problems were occurring in this City? Why they did not received immediate help? Who was administering the city funds? How such abuse were allowed? I believe the lack of honest political representation, the bad administration of the city funds, lack of education and lack of environmental policies that advocate in favor of the safety of the people of St. Louis had created all of this social problems and health problems within the city. The problems with the city poor sewage system, “The city, which by night and day is clouded by the fumes that
pour from vents and smokestacks at the Pfizer and Monsanto chemical plants,” a weapon of mass destruction for the people of St. Louis and who health seen to deteriorate within the youngest victims, the children. The young girl ask the journalist her question, because she was able to see the inequality between schools, how one is treat it better than others. The political help offered to certain neighborhood obviously in a better position and in no need of help, mean while her community, school and social programs are the institutions who need it faster assistant from the government and intervention. We are living in a nation who has the potential to help their own, but yet the savage inequality describe by the journalist, that is determinate by races, social status and who has the power and who done are damaging the way people feel and should act upon social problems within America, is the lack of empathy to the pain and suffering of other human been what will ruin and bring down to dust not only a city but a whole nation and the whole world.
When you take a look at the system, when you really step back and take a look at the system, what does the system seem designed to do? It doesn’t seem designed to facilitate people’s re-entry, doesn’t seem designed for people to find work and be stable, productive citizens.
The problem is that part of our prisons here in the states are private institutions that profit off this system. Since there is profit in having prisoners, there is a conflict of interest in rehabilitating them to become people of society.
“It is a system that operates to control people, often at early ages, and virtually all aspects of their lives after they have been viewed as suspects in some kind of crime.”
I agree with the above quote because many youth are imprisoned for misdemeanors. This messes up their future and it stops them from partaking in many political actions. To stop this from continuing many new laws need to be passed. Also a change in law enforcement because arresting someone for a dime bag of marijuana for example is putting the rest of their future in jeopardy.
“You’re now branded a criminal, a felon, and employment discrimination is now legal against you for the rest of your life. It doesn’t matter how long ago your conviction occurred. It doesn’t matter if it was five weeks, five years ago, 25 years ago. For the rest of your life, you have to check that box on employment applications asking have you ever been convicted of a felony.” No matter what, that crime that one did is going to be with them for the rest of their lives. Even if it was a very minor crime, it is gonna stick with you forever. That person is always gonna get looked at as a criminal so that is going to make it harder for them to do things like get a job, or even vote.
“And it was the Clinton administration that championed a federal law denying even food stamps, food support to people convicted of drug felonies.”(Alexander). People who committed crimes were view as criminal throughout their life. which lead to them being treated badly by not having the privilege of getting any job nor having food stamps. I think there is a possibility of them committing crimes again, instead of getting better. Due to the facts of not having the support they need to live a better life.
“There are 2.3 million people living in cages today, incarcerated in the United States, and more than 7 million people on correctional control, being monitored daily by probation officers, parole officers, subject to stop, search, seizure without any probable cause or reasonable suspicion.”
“The impact that the system of mass incarceration has on entire communities, virtually decimating them, destroying the economic fabric and the social networks that exist there, destroying families so that children grow up not knowing their fathers and visiting their parents or relatives after standing in a long line waiting to get inside the jail or the prison — the psychological impact, the emotional impact, the level of grief and suffering, it’s beyond description. And yet, because prisons are typically located hundreds or even thousands of miles away, it’s out of sight, out of mind, easy for those of us who aren’t living that reality to imagine that it can’t be real or that it doesn’t really have anything to do with us.”
I chose these two quotes because I think she gave a very detailed explanation as to what mass incarceration looks like and how its major impact is affecting minorities.
“Locking up extraordinary numbers of people from a single neighborhood means that the young people in those neighborhoods imagine that incarceration is their destiny. They have no reason to believe otherwise. All evidence suggests that that is in fact their fate. It also means that in these communities, the economic structures have been torn apart. There are very few people who are able to work because they’ve been branded criminals and felons. The economic base in those communities is virtually nonexistent. Jobs are often nonexistent in these communities. Housing is often difficult to come by or tenuous. People find themselves rotating from home to home, sleeping on couches or trying to find places to stay because they can’t get access to basic housing. Getting access to education or public benefits is very difficult. When this happens on a large scale, when most people in the community are struggling in precisely this way, the social networks are destroyed. And it is a virtual statistical inevitability that if you’re raised in that community, you too will someday serve time behind bars”.
I chose this quote because this is very real today, in many parts of Brooklyn, Ny either brownsville and East New York are often swamped with police officials who look for crime, many black men destined for greatness, but a mistake that often happens before they 21, are stigmatized and subjected as a offender for the rest of their lives literally and subconsciously. It can be difficult for an community to strive when there’s great efforts to continue to keep that same community oppressed. This is a case of systematic oppression.
” It is a war that has targeted primarily nonviolent offenders and drug offenders, and it has resulted in the birth of a penal system unprecedented in world history.”
This quote was referring to the War on Drugs that took reign over the 80s, and even though it’s dubbed a massive failure by everyone in the political spectrum, its foundation still haunts us to this day-especially those that’re incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses that were most likely driven by racial profile, and/or the need to maintain a constant quota. The fact that this quote is relevant to society and lawmakers of today just shows that the same people who made the War on Drugs happen- old, senile, white and apathetic; they’re still in charge, and nothing has changed.
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