Incarceration of African American Males

The trend of African American males between the ages of 25 and 29 has seen a dramatic increase of incarceration. Attention has been focusing on areas of housing, education, and healthcare but the most prominent problem for African American males is the increase in the incarceration rate. African American males between the ages of 25 and 29 incarceration rate has been thought, by many, to be caused by economic factors such as under employment or unemployment, poor housing, lack of education, and lack of healthcare.

Yet, others believe it is due to the imbalance of minorities within the criminal justice system, such as judges, lawyers, and lawmakers. This paper will explore two different outlooks; society has come up with so far, as to why African American Males between the ages of 25 and 29 are increasingly incarcerated. Finally, the information will give awareness to the problems that is faced by African American Males between the ages of 25 and 29. Prevalence – Problem 1 More than 40% of all American prisoners, men and women, are African American men, yet they make up just 13% of the U. S. male population (Roberts, 2004).

This statistic does not include those African American men who are in local jails nor does it include those African American men under custodial supervision (Table 2). They enter the state and federal prison system, at the prime of their economic and reproductive lives and yet they exit prison behind both economically and socially. The high rate of incarceration among African Americans has been noted by the interconnection of poor economy, lack of affordable housing, mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, absence of a strong black male role model, lack of access to education, or some type of combination of these factors.

Statistics don’t even give African American males a good chance to stay out of jail. They have a one in four chance of being incarcerated, while Hispanic American males have a one in six chance, and white males only have a one in twenty three chance of incarceration. The color of African Americans sets them apart and makes them targetable. Prevalence – Problem 2 There is evidence, in our American Justice System, of structural inequality as seen in the percentages of minorities to the percentage of majorities employed in high ranking positions, within the system.

The percentage of United States judges by race are 79% Caucasian, 12% African American, and 2% Hispanics American (Federal Judicial Center, 2012), as for the thousands of lawyers in the United States it is approximate of 3% are African American (National Law Group, 2010-2011), and about 1 in 4 police officers are members of a racial or ethnic minority in 2007 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2013). An investigation into racial profiling showed that African American and Hispanic American offenders, who often are young unemployed males, are more likely than their white counterparts (Spohn, C., 2000).

Their prison sentences are also typically longer or they receive differential benefits from guideline departures than do similarly situated white offenders (Spohn, C. , 2000). We must acknowledge the problems of racial disparity within the criminal justice system, communicate racial disparity within the criminal justice system with those we who are not informed of the problem, and stay committed to changing racial disparity within our justice system for change to begin.

Causes In researching the high rate of incarceration in America it is more likely than not that the increase in African American Males being incarcerated is due to the War on Drugs (Table 1). It is public knowledge that drug crime ranks high among the effects of poverty. These poor neighborhoods not only endure crime they have poor schools, poor food, cramped living areas, and shortage of jobs if any jobs at all.

Drugs and drug crime has become regularity in low income communities, arrests of Hispanics made up 55% of cocaine powder offences and 52% of marijuana offenses and 49% involving opiates: African Americans were suspected in 75% of crack cocaine cases; White males were suspected in 41% all methamphetamine cases (Motivans, M. , 2011). Decades of failed public and private remedies for chronic disparities and disadvantages in communities of color invite us to reexamine systems and institutions that provide and restrict opportunity in new ways (Lawrence, K. , 2011).

The causes seem to be intertwined being poor equals, equals a poor education, equals lack of employment, and ultimately equals an increased rate of crime. Consequences The causes seem to be intertwined being poor, equals lack of education, which equals lack of employment, which equals increased rate of crime which equals impossibility to join criminal justice system. Also, many of these men are incarcerated while all the other non-incarcerated American young men are finishing school, starting careers, earning seniority at work, marrying and having children thus gaining capital.

Even when released from prison, these men return back to their communities with a felony record that will pose extreme problems for them. The incarceration leads the released convict into a lower social class even if they were considered lower class Americans prior to their incarceration; they now are lower in social class standing in most instances. This leads to a poor African American community, perhaps as many as 50% of the male population will have been in prison.

These incarcerated African American Males, who are in their prime of life, also are leaving half the families in this community facing such things as poverty, lack of affordable housing, mental illness, substance abuse, violence, absence of a strong black male role model, lack of access to education, or some type of combination of these factors. The community ultimately will become poverty stricken, struggling to survive, and ultimately vulnerable to the situation repeating.