Imprisonment Studies and the Media

Imprisonment Studies and the Media

In Criminal by GWAO

A Greensboro Criminal Defense Lawyer & the U.S. Epidemic of Mass Incarceration

Lately, there has been a lot about the cycle of poverty and criminal justice system, and this systemic problem manifests itself in Greensboro, a challenge to attorneys and clients both.

The topic is an important one. According to a 2017 study by the Prison Policy Institute, the United States has more than 2.3 million people in federal prison, state prison, state and local jails, and juvenile facilities. That’s more people in custody than any other country on the face of the earth, including authoritarian regimes such as Russia, Iran, China and North Korea. Notably, 1 in 5 are in custody for drug offenses, pointing toward the contribution of “the War on Drugs” to the incarceration epidemic. And, sadly, most youth are locked up for non-violent offenses such as property crimes and non-violent drug offenses. Additionally and unfortunately, the individuals in custody are disproportionately African American or Latino.

To help narrow down the information about mass incarceration out there, a proposed reference list:

  • Probably the best book written in recent memory on mass incarceration is Michele Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, which details the depth of the epidemic, as well as some of its causes.
  • Another recent book that discusses the issue of mass incarceration and the disproportionate effect of the criminal justice system on people of color is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me. The book, a letter to Coates’s teenage son, chronicles, among other things, the author’s interaction with the criminal justice system, particularly through the death of one of his college friends at the hands of police.
  • As for movies, there is The House I Live In , a documentary that looks specifically at America’s so-called “War on Drugs,” and its corrosive effect on American society.