The New Jim Crow in the US Criminal Justice System
Question no. 01: Explain why Michelle’s Alexander Book is titled, The New Jim Crow?
Michelle’s “The New Jim Crow” is a stunning account of the former practice of segregation and the rebirth of the racial caste-like system for Black people in particular in the United States. The term “Jim Crow” refers to the racial discrimination enforced by practices and customs and justifies severe inequality and segregation of the Blacks. Michelle in her book depicts that by targeting the Black race by decimating the communities of color, the contemporary criminal justice system functions to the principle of colorblindness. Under Jim Crow in the United States, Black men explicitly faced obstacles in their right of voting and police justify the arrest and conviction of a large percentage of African Americans. They were blocked from public benefits, access to housing, healthcare benefits, voting, employment, jury service, and even basic education (Alexander, 2011). Indeed, the title of Michelle’s book tells a truth of “New Jim Crow” that the US nation has always been reluctant to face.
Question no. 02: What does Dr. Hill say about the Prison Industrial Complex in her lectures on the War on Drugs?
Dr. Hill relates Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) with masked racism in her lectures that subsequently leads to mass incarceration and thus created a vicious cycle of punishment for men of color. She reminisces the legislation named “War on Drugs” during one of her lectures as cocaine had predominantly spread to Black neighborhoods at the time although Whites also sold and used illegal drugs at very similar rates. The War on Drugs thus led to the mass incarceration of Brown and Black young men in the United States segregating the people of color, particularly the lives of Black men were severely impacted by the criminal record but Whites were not arrested for the same crime. Thus, the practice of PIC was to fuel the exploitation of the poor, the mentally-ill drug addicts, and the homeless Black people which is still lurking in the US society as Dr. Hill considers PIC as one of the main reasons why the crime rate is still high in the country.
Question no. 03: Explain how the film 13th by Ava DuVernay deals with the Criminal Justice System and the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC)?
The film “13th” by Ava DuVernay explores a powerful look at the intersection of the criminal justice system and racism through the practice of the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) that links with slavery. She presents the idea of how modern companies in the name of PIC make millions of dollars off the punishment of Black people in the United States and around. 13th establishes a lasting but false image of the Black race as criminals and police justify the killings of African Americans in the public. This connection between US broken prison system and slavery argues an insight into why slavery and racial discrimination still persist in the contemporary criminal justice system. In fact, Ava’s 13th convincingly argues that the United States’ current incarceration state might be worse exploitation in today’s criminal justice system than slavery (Duvernay, 2016).
Alexander, Michelle. “The new jim crow.” Ohio St. J. Crim. L. 9 (2011): 7.
DuVernay, Ava, S. Averick, and H. Barish. “13th [Documentary].” USA: Kandoo Films (2016).