The New Jim Crow Book Review

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In The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander examines our current criminal justice system and the mass incarceration of African Americans in the United States. She argues that the War on Drugs and drug offense convictions are the single most compelling cause for the magnitude of people of color behind bars. Prisons are used as a system of racial and social control that function in the same way as Jim Crow laws. It is no longer legal to discriminate against people based on race. By targeting black and minority communities through the War on Drugs and labeling them as felons, all the old forms of discrimination became legal. The racial caste systems of slavery and Jim Crow have not disappeared, but …show more content…
The Case for Decriminalizing Drugs, he takes a different approach to regarding the War on Drugs. While he feels that current drug policies have failed, his book focuses on the injustice of punitive drug laws and believes we should stop punishing people for using illicit drugs. “A law whose purpose is deterrence must always be backed by a demonstration that the law is just.” (ix) His book is presented in three chapters. Chapter one describes our present drug policies and laws and raises questions to answer whether these are just or unjust and offers his position of decriminalization as a more ethical approach to drug use. Chapter two reviews the most frequent arguments used in favor of punishing drug users and Husak believes that none of these are convincing enough to warrant enacting laws on a person’s behavior. Chapter three declares that punishing drug users is counterproductive and damaging to us …show more content…
Gray and includes opinions and perspectives from State and Federal Judges across the United States. Judge Gray firmly states that the War on Drugs has failed. The current laws and policies regarding drugs and drug use are exacerbating the problem. Judge Gray cites that drug reform has produced a severe loss of civil liberties and the true consequences of U.S. drug control need an honest evaluation. “Although the War on Drugs makes for good politics, it makes for terrible government…we pursue it not because it is effective but because it is fundable.” (6) Many judges agree that we need to move away from the incarceration of drug users and treat this as a social and medical issue rather than a criminal

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