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Mass Incarceration and Race

The United States has the highest incidence of incarceration of its residents. Almost 2.5 million US citizens are in detention centers, and this is about one percent of the grown-up population at any particular time (Williams & Battle, 2017). African Americans form more than 30% of the imprisoned population despite their total number being among the lowest in the country (Tucker, 2017). Therefore, a high number of African American children experience the incarceration of their parents. Children of incarcerated parents suffer psychological and socioeconomic predicaments. Superficially, punishment and felonies seem to be unsophisticated concerns. More profoundly, it is evident that crime and penalty are multidimensional issues that emanate from ethnic discrimination vindicated by perceptions and convictions about African Americans (Pettit & Gutierrez, 2018). The US has a dual justice system that has aided the maintenance of the financial and social hierarchy in the country, anchored in the suppression of blacks.

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The fundamental source of the disproportionate incarceration of blacks (especially men) occurs in the disguise of the United States’ collective practices to become more disciplinary. Such hard-on-crime policies, which are not employed uniformly on all Americans, are upheld by the criminal justice system and are created from the heritage of racism in the US (Muller & Wildeman, 2016). Essentially, connecting criminal actions with noticeable attributes (such as religion or race) enable the majority of the society to enforce policies devoid of bearing their full burden (Temin, 2018). Mass incarceration affects African Americans and has a disastrous influence on families and society attributable to its continued generation of a cycle of discrimination that makes it almost impossible for the community to progress.

The US has the highest rate of imprisonment of its residents. African Americans form more than a third of the jailed population, even though their total number is among the lowest in the country. America has a dual justice system, which has enabled the continuation of the monetary and social order in the country, based on the repression of blacks. Mass incarceration has a devastating influence on African American families attributable to continued racial discrimination.


  1. Muller, C., & Wildeman, C. (2016). Geographic variation in the cumulative risk of imprisonment and parental imprisonment in the United States. Demography, 53(5), 1499-1509.
  2. Pettit, B., & Gutierrez, C. (2018). Mass incarceration and racial inequality. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 77(3-4), 1153-1182. Web.
  3. Temin, P. (2018). The political economy of mass incarceration and crime: An analytic model. International Journal of Political Economy, 47(3-4), 317-329. Web.
  4. Tucker, R. B. (2017). The color of mass incarceration. Ethnic Studies Review, 37(1), 135-149. Web.
  5. Williams, J. M., & Battle, N. T. (2017). African Americans and punishment for crime: A critique of mainstream and neoliberal discourses. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 56(8), 552-566. Web.

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