America is not the land of the free, at least not the way many Americans believe it is. The United States is the land of 25% of the world’s incarcerated population. This statistic is shocking when you account that the United States only makes up 4% of earth’s population, which accounts for 7.442 billion people.

After the Jim Crow Law was declared unconstitutional, racism took on a new form and still exists within American systems today. Unfortunately, Black and Latino males make up most of our incarcerated population. If someone is declared as a felon then they lose the right to vote, according to the Constitution. This law has become a loophole in today’s modern world to suppress people of color’s right to vote. After the Jim Crow Law could no longer legally segregate people of color, politicians found a new campaign tactic to gain the votes from angered white people. This election technique was described as, “enforcing the law.” Politicians claimed they were trying to control the “drug war,” but this idea was really racially charged.

Police enforcement were encouraged to arrest anyone distributing and using illegal substances. Although, people caught with the possession of crack received harsher punishments than those who were caught with cocaine. Cocaine is primarily used by white people and is thought to be more prestigious compared to crack. Crack is cheap and sold in poorer neighborhoods, often by black individuals. Even though both drugs are illegal, black males were targeted, arrested, and imprisoned in larger masses compared to white people who were committing the same offenses. Throughout the decades, black communities have been battered down because of this system. They have have lost their leaders, their fathers, and their brothers at the hands of white people because they’ve been labeled as “criminals.”

Since the 1960s America’s prison system has become a place of business. The more people imprisoned means each prison industry will make an increased amount of profit. That is why it holds true, people who go to prison are likely to return once again because prisons do not rehabilitate their prisoners. If they did, that would mean losing money! Not only are prisoners stripped of their right to vote, but they are also are used for free labor.  Large market companies, like Victoria Secret, take advantage of this free labor code. Yet, Victoria Secret isn’t the only guilty franchise, there are many American companies who take advantage of this prison system.

Prison has become America’s way of silently saying, “You will be our modernized slave now.”


Source: The !3th Documentary- found on Netflix


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January 12, 2018 7:52 pm

Hi Avery!
I really enjoyed your post about this topic. This is something that I haven’t thought about before and I really enjoyed reading about your ideas. One thing that really spoke to me was the stats that you opened your discussion with. It was really powerful to know that the United States only makes up 4% of Earth’s calculation. I thought it was really interesting how you talked about the Jim Crow law. Learning about it in school, we never really learned about what that law meant in terms of today. I also liked how you tied illegal substances in and Victoria Secret as well. Great Job!

January 12, 2018 7:19 pm

This statement you made literally made a shiver run down my spine. “Since the 1960s America’s prison system has become a place of business.” That single sentence makes the validity of your post what seems to be a billion times stronger. I never would have made this comparison, nor have I ever heard anyone use this in speech. I think it truly is the most perfect description of the current state affairs with regards to the prison system in the US, both literally and figuratively. “…each U.S. resident is paying about $260 per year on corrections, up from $77 per person in 1980, thanks to the country’s annual $80 billion price tag for incarceration…” ( People working in the prison system are making money off of it, but also those that are incarcerated are basically doing slave work. “The Thirteenth Amendment forbade slavery and involuntary servitude, ‘except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.'” ( I absolutely loved your post, and it was extremely informative and brought many arguments to the table that I hadn’t considered.

January 12, 2018 7:17 pm

Averi, I agree that the prison system in America is biased and takes advantage of the minority populations that it most often imprisons. On top of often horrible conditions they are forced to work and this is not okay. Prisons do nothing to help these people get better and make better lives for themselves. Instead they exploit them. I think that the examples you used and the way you wrote this article was very powerful and I really enjoyed reading it.

Lastly this is an article on Norway’s prison system that puts ours to shame. I think they are a wonderful example of how we could do better.

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