September 16, 2020 Uncategorized 77

This past week as a part of #DoTheWork you were asked to watch a video, read, and reflect on Day 12: Racism in the Courtroom.

  • To your understanding, what is mass incarceration?
  • How, if at all, has mass incarceration disproportionally impacted people of color?
  • Based on what you have learned from the resources, how do you think the relationship between law enforcement and people of color is affected positively or negatively? Explain.

Please take time to respond to at least one peer’s blog post. Use this space to ask questions, challenge each other, and learn.


77 Responses

  1. Jackson Regan says:

    Mass incarceration, to me, is the systemic increase in imprisonments, often for minor or trivial offenses, often with BIPOC. The US’s prison statistics land our incarceration rates among the highest in the world. Because of a combination of poverty and racism , BIPOC make up the majority of those incarcerated. This has helped to implement the idea in society that BIPOC, specifically BIPOC males, are automatically criminals, regardless of their wealth or social standing. This means a cop is more likely to assume a worst-case scenario if they’re called to deal with a situation involving a BIPOC, which more often then not leads to a worst-case ending, which keeps the wheels of this vicious cycle turning more and more.

  2. Lulama Nyembe says:

    To my understanding mass incarceration is the large-scale imprisonment of people. Mass incarceration disproportionately impacts people of color in that people of color are charged at higher rates and often for the same crime than their white counterparts. They are often sentenced for a lengthy period of time which doesn’t necessarily correspond with the crime committed. People of color make up the majority of the prison population. Convicted felons have very limited opportunities, which means that people of color (since they are the majority) are limited in their avenues for success. Law enforcement is the vehicle for the criminal justice system. Without law enforcement, there would not be a means to get people to court for criminal offenses. This then adversely affects the relationship between law enforcement and people of color because law enforcement is what drives the system and puts thousands of people of color behind bars.

  3. Nicole Pazarecki says:

    Mass incarnation is when a large group of people are in prison. Many specific areas of race are targeted of mass incarnation, such as Hispanics and African Americans. This movement is disproportionally because they are targeting specific people of minor crimes and actions. I think their is a negative relationship between the law enforcement and people of color because each view them is different ways. Both parties need to build their relationships and make peace because this issue needs to be resolved. As a result, both parities are facing violent crime and actions, therefore their needs to be policies and personal connections being made

  4. Mara Golden says:

    Mass incarceration is a large number of convicted criminals being imprisoned. This number is already so large but is still on the rise. Mass incarceration has always negatively affected African Americans, especially African American males. Many of these arrests made on people of color has to do with the societal bias America lives on. Unfortunately, it is assumed that people of color who live in low-income neighborhoods are criminals or take part in criminal activities. The relationship between law enforcement and low-income neighborhoods needs to be mended. Too many people are being convicted of crimes, many of whom are wrongfully convicted and spend many years locked away.

  5. Tristan Hunzinger says:

    Mass incarceration is the imprisonment of a large amount of convicted criminals. Historically, mass incarceration has disproportionately affected African Americans and especially African American males. The relationship between law enforcement and people of color is impacted negatively when mass incarceration occurs because it causes people to lose trust in their law enforcement.

  6. Harriet Koblenzer says:

    Mass incarceration has been the phenomena of imprisoning a mass amount of convicted criminals. This has been done by increased policing, and an increase in sentencing as a result of conviction. Mass incarceration has overwhelmingly disproportionally affected people of color. One major factor of this is the over policing that occurs in low income, predominantly black and brown, neighborhoods. There is not heavy policing in suburban, middle and high income, white neighborhoods. Although there is heavy policing in black and brown neighborhoods, drug use is the same between black and white people. The impacts of this over policing affects even the right to vote, in which 1 out of 13 African Americans has lost their right to vote due to incarceration, as opposed to 1 out of every 56 non-black voters. The relationship between law enforcement and people of color, has increased the stigma towards people of color, furthering the inequalities and oppression they face.

  7. Giavanna Pitagno says:

    Mass incarceration refers to a country with a vast population in both federal and state prisons. The U.S is the world-leader for mass incarcerations, as of 2016, a total of 2.3 million people were incarcerated. This disproportionately impacts people of color. While black people only made up only 13% of the population, they made up 40% of the prison population in the U.S in 2010. Based on these statistics, the relationship between law enforcement and people of color is negatively effected. How should people of color feel equally protected when they are disproportionally persecuted? These relationships go far beyond the statistics. As explained in Dr. Love’s Webinar, experiencing a family member being incarcerated, or witnessing their arrest commits ‘spirit murder’ against all individuals involved. This idea of ‘spirit murder’ refers to the internal impact of being discriminated against for just being who you are.

    Not only does this impact morality, but this in turn is used as a tool to restrict the rights of people of color. By branding a large portion of a population felons, this prevents large percentages of communities from voting. The residual effects of modern restrictions to voting carry out to those who are able to vote- discouraging them and making them believe their votes don’t matter. I feel like using mass incarceration as a means of voting oppression isn’t as talked about as it should be. Today, as we approach the election, we are hearing everywhere about the importance of our votes for those in the past who didn’t have the right too, but rarely for those today who don’t have the right too.

  8. Kiara Woodward says:

    Mass incarceration simply means incarceration in large numbers. At face value a system of mass incarceration can be seen as necessary and “law and order” in practice. A deeper look at mass incarceration can reveal the disparate impact on people of color. People of color are over represented in the prison system compared to their representation in the United States. Black people make up approximately 13% of the population in the US yet black men accounted for 34% of the prison population in 2018.

    Mass incarceration is a vehicle to legally and systematically strip away rights to people of color. People are deprived of freedom, the right to vote, and are often stigmatized as less than human. These points are made powerfully in Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow. The criminal justice system was not designed for people of color to receive justice. A quote that resonated with me from the meeting is, “the opposite of poverty is justice”. It is next to impossible to forge positive relationships between law enforcement and people of color if the primary emotion between the two parties is fear. Implicit biases about people of color definitely bleeds into policing as they are present in all people and must be intentionally and continuously addressed and worked to reverse. Children of color must learn from a young age how to conduct themselves during interactions with the police because not knowing can be the difference between life and death. It is hard to not think that a piece of innocence is stolen from every child that must learn that a police officer may think they are a threat because of the color of their skin.

  9. Julia Fleming says:

    To my understanding, mass incarceration is imprisonment on a large (massive) scale. Unfortunately, certain groups of people are can be impacted differently. In the United States, mass incarceration has had a huge impact on people of color. For instance according to the article, “18 Examples of Racism in the Criminal Legal System” one out of every four African American males can expect to go to prison in their lifetime. That statistic is extremely high. Looking beyond the number, one in four African American males with friends, family, co-workers, etc. will serve time. I believe that the relationship between law enforcement and people of color is filled with fear and a lack of trust. The quote, “Racism may well be the biggest crime in the criminal legal system” illustrates the broken relationship between law enforcement and people of color. Law enforcement, the very system that by definition should fight and protect people against against bigotry, is contaminated by racism.

    • Giavanna Pitagno says:

      Hey Julia,
      1 out of every 4 African American males can expect to go to prison is a scary statistic. I completely agree with the sense of distrust this makes between people of color and law enforcement. You have such a good quote! I also think your use of the word ‘contaminated’ is a great word to represent the problem with racism in law enforcement.

  10. Kayla says:

    Mass incarceration is the overpopulation of people in the prison system that is broken and needs to be reformed. Mass incarceration rates are the highest in the United States because this country continues to lock people that are either innocent, are charged crimes at a higher age than they should be, or are overly charged with crimes that could have a lesser sentence. Mass incarceration disproportionally impacts people of color because they are charged for crimes more harshly just because of the color of their skin. They are more likely to be mistaken for another person of color in which makes innocent people get sent to prison for life without parole or the death penalty. People of color are most likely to get sent to prison for a greater sentence because they have possession of a small number of drugs or any other drug. The likely chance of this is that blacks are arrested at a rate more than twice their percentage in the population and make-up twenty-nine percent of drug arrests. Also when people of color commit a crime they are less likely to receive help or be granted community service hours. The relationship between law enforcement and people of color is affected in a negative aspect because the root of the problem stems from racism dating back from slavery and the fear of people of color just because of their darker complexion. The problem with law enforcement is that the system was never made to protect people of color and that needs to change. In order to create change for the mass incarceration problem in American is that the system needs to stop putting people of color in prison for minor crimes. A better alternative would be to guide them down a better path by allowing access to other resources such as therapy or institutions where they can receive help. Another chance to allow for change is by educating the youth generations about racism and how to be more openminded and to not listen to stereotypes.

    • Kiara Woodward says:


      I appreciate your thoughts on this topic. I think you touched on an important point about offering resources to people instead of incarceration. This begs the question is the true purpose of the prison system rehabilitation? I also agree that law enforcement and the criminal justice system at large is a system that was not created to serve people of color. How can one survive a system that was designed to work against them?

  11. Erin Spence says:

    Mass incarceration in the United States is the overpopulation of the prison system. More specifically, there is an overrepresentation of people of color in our jails and prisons throughout the country. Our criminal justice system is diseased with racism. There are very clear biases and discrimination against people of color that can be seen during violent and unnecessary interactions with police, increased sentencing time, and denial of due process (just to name a few). People of color have never been treated equally within this system and are rarely given fair treatment. The racism that this country was founded on still exists today and it is the cause of these staggering numbers of people of color who find themselves locked away in the land of the free, oftentimes for crimes they did not commit. In addition, people of color are also given harsher punishments than white people for committing the same crime. This very apparent discrimination is the source of the extremely negative relationship between law enforcement and people of color. This mass incarceration of people of color is rooted in the implicit biases that exist in our law enforcement officers and in the criminal justice system itself. On day 4 of #DoTheWork, we were asked to take the implicit association test. I think this was such an important aspect to focus on because it allowed us to understand our own biases. There is no doubt that those who are working in our law enforcement also have these internal biases, and their actions reflect this, whether intentional or not. The number of people incarcerated in this country speaks for itself and the racism that continues to ruin the lives of innocent people. Violence and anger should not be the first step. As we said in our meeting this week, people are “innocent until proven guilty.”

    • Ecli Vazquez says:

      Hi Erin,

      I completely agree with you on the fact that with racism being fuel sources for mass incarceration. I feel that the people within the prison industry are aware of how some people in a position of power feel about people of color. For this reason, they structure prison as a business that has to be full all the time. They feed off the hate for others to make a profit from it.

    • Sydney Maughan says:

      Hey Erin,
      I agree with you completely about how the system doesn’t treat people of color equally. Racism is so strong in our country and you can see it clearly when you look closer at the problem concerning mass incarceration. People of color get harsher punishments than someone who was white even if they were tried for the same thing. I totally agree that the system needs to focus more on people being innocent until proven guilty.

  12. Dana Wakeman says:

    Mass incarceration is when there is a high influx of people who are incarcerated with an example being the US prison industrial complex that now has around 2.3 million people incarcerated. Mass incarceration disproportionately impacts people of color in a variety of ways. For example, people of color are policied more, arrested more, face longer sentences, among many other inequalities. As a result, the relationships between law enforcement, people involved in the criminal justice system more generally, and people of color are negatively affected by the systematic problems in the system that were created before even the founding of our country and continue today. For example, my capstone project focuses on drug diversion programs and how these programs can and should address the issues of racial disparities and mass incarceration in the criminal justice system. Therefore, it is on all of us to educate ourselves, speak up and speak out, and work to create sustainable change in order to have a more equitable and fair criminal justice system.

    • Kayla says:

      Hey Dana, you brought up some big statistics that are important to understand how severe the issue of mass incarceration is. I think your capstone is amazing and an inspiration to create change. What ways are the drug diversion programs addressing the issues of racial disparities and mass incarceration? I would love to hear more about it.

    • Harriet Koblenzer says:

      Hi Dana! Your capstone project sounds really interesting and is such important work. I can’t wait to see how it develops and see the final project. It is so important to asses the programs that are supposed to be helping people with substance issues, and help resolve our incarceration problem.

    • Nicole Pazarecki says:

      Hi Dana,

      I think it is really important work you are doing. I can’t wait to read the finished product of your capstone.

  13. Sydney Maughan says:

    Mass incarceration in my understanding is represented by extreme rates of imprisonment; seen mostly in the US.
    Mass incarceration disproportionately impacted people of color in many ways. First off if you live in an area with high rates of incarceration a “Zero Tolerance” policy are placed in the schools. This policy makes it more likely for teenagers to be arrested, which can more often than not lead to a path of repeated incarceration. Also if one parent is incarcerated, the other parent is left alone to have to care and provide for his/her family.
    Based on what I’ve learned from resources, I think the relationship between law enforcement and people of color is affected negatively and is deep rooted. Negative biases towards people of color is the main reason for this negative ‘relationship’ between the two.

    • Dana Wakeman says:

      Sydney, I think you bring up a great point about the school to prison pipeline. How can we work to create change in the educational system to reduce suspensions, expulsions, and the overall school to prison pipeline?

  14. Sarah Ahmed says:

    Mass incarceration is when an extreme rate of imprisonment exists among a certain race. To state that mass incarceration has disproportionally impacted individuals of color is an understatement. Mass incarceration has created a false connection between people of color, specifically black men, and criminalization. Black men go to jail or prison at 3-4 times the rate of a white man despite having the same offenses. The War on Drugs has targeted black neighborhoods even though white and black populations use drugs at almost the same rate. What also contributes to this mass incarceration is that a black man is more likely to be randomly stopped by a police officer and also have their vehicle searched than a black man. There is a clear negative relationship between law enforcement and people of color. Law enforcement has a negative bias towards individuals of color which negatively impacts their behavior towards individuals of color. Police officers are more likely to use “stop and frisk” methods on people of color than the white population and law enforcement officers are more likely to increase the sentence, bail amount, and incarcerate people of color than the white population.

    • Julia Fleming says:

      Hi Sarah! That statistic you included: black men go to jail 3-4 times the rate of white men for the same offenses is really eye-opening. Its very upsetting black people are more likely to go to jail for the SAME offense .

  15. Ecli Vazquez says:

    Mass incarceration is when a bigger portion of people are in jails instead of being free. The jail system is rigged from the start. They only think about filling beds and holding people for a long period of time as they would get more money. When it comes to the black community they are one of the groups that have a high incarceration rate. People of color get arrested over petty crimes and at a higher rate. Law enforcement and the jail system has been consumed with systemic racism. The design within these systems has negatively affected people of color because they are getting stopped and jailed for the wrong things. There’s a good amount of people that should be free and are in jail.

  16. Maura Lynch says:

    Mass incarceration is when extreme amounts of people are imprisoned. This issue has predominantly affected people of color, particularly black men, since the creation of the US justice system. The prison system in this country has been used as a tactic to keep these black men behind bars, especially with felony charges to keep them from voting and sparking positive change. This all causes tension and resentment towards police from the black community, and rightfully so. After being targeted relentlessly by police, it is hard to expect these people to trust and respect the badge. Until systemic change is made in the justice system, this bias won’t change.

    • Alexis D'Aloia says:

      Hey Maura! This is all so true, and it made me think how easy and quickly we can break trust and respect yet it is so much harder to build back up that trust and positive relationship once it’s broken.

  17. Tori Mangelli says:

    Mass incarceration is the reason why the US has the highest incarceration rate in the entire world. We imprison people for every offense, no matter how minor. People caught with the possession of marijuana should not have to go to jail for the rest of their life, and those with drug addictions should be able to get the help they need, which isn’t necessarily jail time. The justice system favors the rich and guilty over the innocent and poor and our incarceration rates display that perfectly. 1 in 4 Black men will go to prison at some point during their life in comparison to the white man who has a 1 in 23 chance of serving time. This statistic is truly shocking when you look at the fact that the overwhelming majority of serial killers and mass shootings have been at the hands of white men. For instance, if Ted Bundy was a black man he would not have had the chance to go to trial three times before being sentenced to death, instead everyone would’ve just assumed he was guilty immediately. (Not making excuses for Ted Bundy, just making a point). Also, white people are more likely to use drugs, but Black people are 6.5 times as likely to be arrested for drug-related crimes. Clearly, there is a negative relationship between law enforcement and people of color because they have been trained that people of color are more likely to commit a crime and therefore feel less safe around them. Society has taught us to fear Black men due to the above statistics, and this statement remains true for law enforcement. It’s honestly so upsetting, but I’m glad we have an opportunity to learn in-depth about these issues. Without opportunities like these we wouldn’t be able to see what is clearly wrong in our justice system and wouldn’t be moved to make an effort to fix it.

    • Dana Wakeman says:

      Tori, you bring up a great point because we all need to learn more about the criminal justice system in order to improve it. How can we encourage other people to continue to learn and could we spread the Do the Work challenge?

  18. Stephanie Da Fonseca says:

    Mass incarceration is definitely real and alive in the United States, a growing industry some can even say. After watching a reading so many articles and documentaries we can see what mass incarceration actually is.
    Today, mass incarceration is an extension of slavery, it is the way that the government found to legally continue with slavery. We can especially see this when people of color receive longer sentences for crimes that white people don’t even get jail time for. It is affecting people of color because it puts people in jail for petty crimes and is ripping away fathers from their families and causing them to have felonies which makes it harder for them to get jobs afterword which leads to a vicious cycle.
    The relationship between law enforcement and people of color has been dramatically hurt with the background the police has with people of color, today we can see a movement has arisen because of the countless people who have been wrongfully killed and arrested because of our law enforcement’s bias and racism, whether it is blatant racism or racism that has been embedded in us. Our law enforcement is no longer a call for help, but feared by so many people of color.

    • Tori Mangelli says:

      I completely agree with you. I like how you pointed out the fact that mass incarceration is tearing up families for petty crimes. I find it so sad that we don’t have a better system in place for ex-felons to get a job after prison because it makes it so much harder to create a better life for them and their families once they are released.

  19. Parker Taft says:

    To your understanding, what is mass incarceration?

    Mass incarceration is the systematic imprisonment of a large portion of the population either along socio-economic or ethnic lines, as the result of a legal system which is disproportionately skewed in favor of one group or another and against another group.
    How, if at all, has mass incarceration disproportionally impacted people of color?
    Mass incarceration’s has created a self-perpetuating cycle of crime and poverty in communities of people of color. Once incarcerated many people of color find it difficult to find a job, establish economic and social stability, receive adequate housing. As well as often losing the right to vote and being severely limited on the types of government support and assistance they can receive. As a result they are forced back into criminality out of a sheer need for survival which will most likely lead them back to prison. In addition it takes a terrible toll on the mental and physical well-being of their children that grow up in often unsafe and unstable environments opening the door for them to follow the same path their parents did and starting the cycle anew.
    Based on what you have learned from the resources, how do you think the relationship between law enforcement and people of color is affected positively or negatively? Explain.

    I think the overall description of the relationship between people of color and law enforcement is a mixed bag. While law enforcement has no doubt helped to lower crime, and they do invaluable work in areas such as school safety and provide community support through fundraisers, weapons buy backs and charity drives. This must also contend with a predisposition for law enforcement to target people of color for traffic tickets, criminal arrest, civil complaints, and often being subjected to unconstitutional tactics and practices on behalf of the police. Whether this is through systematic rascist policy or popular perception that has been reinforced into the public consciousness I don’t know. I do know that if relations between police and people of color are going to improve, the police need to focus more on the positive things they do for the community and return to their original mission of serving and protecting and increase their awareness of their prejudicial habits and practices and fight to overcome them.

    • Stephanie Da Fonseca says:

      I totally agree to all you have said in your post. I think you provided a good insight to name good things our law enforcement has done for us, although you do highlight that they target a certain group, people of color, and for them the evil outshines the good. Although the police is a great resource and helps keep/bring order in many situations we can clearly see today the embedded racism and bias which lead to so many deaths and etc.

    • Kate Callery says:

      Hi Parker, I really like your post! I would challenge you to question the impact both mentally and physically that the police have in communities not just their ability to lower crime rates. I think back to the ICE raids and how many undocumented communities felt so afraid of ICE they didn’t reach out for help in situations where crimes were committed.

  20. Nancy Rasmussen says:

    When I hear the phrase “mass incarceration,” my mind immediately associates this horrific reality with systemic racism. Mass incarceration, in my opinion, is the direct result of the unfair, inhumane treatment of people of color. Mass incarceration has disproportionally impacted people of color in numerous ways over the years. One in four black men in the United States will go to prison at some point in their lifetime. Also, a person of color is twice as likely to be arrested compared to that of a white person. Based on what I have learned from the resources and simply opening my eyes to everything that has been going on today, it is evident that there is an extremely negative relationship between law enforcement and people of color. People of color are treated unfairly by police compared to that of white people. From what I have seen on the news, especially during these past few months, it is clear that police are more strict and brutal towards people of color. I think that there can be a switch in this harsh, scary reality, but the change has to start within ourselves to first realize and acknowledge that there is a clear and horrific problem in our country.

    • Michael Averill says:

      Hi Nancy, I completely agree that solving the problem begins with addressing that it’s real. You mentioned that there is “an extremely negative relationship between law enforcement and people of color.” Without a doubt, this is true. One way I have read a lot about in order to turn this negative relationship into a more positive one that keeps all people safe is community policing. By getting policemen out of their cars and civilly engaging with citizens in the street, mutual trust is developed between the two parties. Something to think about!

    • Sarah Ahmed says:

      Hey Nancy! I also agree. The Trump administration has recently taken away the policy of requiring police officers and other law enforcement to receive education of this topic of systemic racism. Do you think that these training even helped combat some of the implicit bias that law enforcement officers hold or do you think that without this training, the rates of incarceration will increase among POC?

  21. Michael Averill says:

    Mass incarceration is the fact that 1 in 4 black men will go to prison at some point in their life in the United States.

    Mass incarceration is when a single nation holds 25% of the world’s prison population, while only making up 5% of the global population.

    Mass incarceration is the disparity in plea deals that exists between defendants in the court room, where white defendants with no prior convictions are 25% more likely to receive a charge reduction than black defendants with no prior convictions.

    Mass incarceration is the trend that many black Americans in prison took a plea deal even if they were innocent due to the threat that taking their case to court would result in even longer sentences, as they could not afford a better defense attorney than the one provided to them by the state.

    Mass incarceration is the reality that marijuana and other drugs have always been legal for white people, but arrests and convictions for these very same drugs in black and brown communities have led to the breakup of family units.

    Mass incarceration is the use of law enforcement officials to respond to calls for mental health and drug addiction with no restorative justice or rehabilitation policies in place other than to lock up people who suffer from these ailments.

    Mass incarceration is the existence of a prison industrial complex that values profits for businesses contracted with the federal government over the lives of those being detained with unjust sentences.

    Mass incarceration is a product of systemic racism that must be reformed so that equal justice can apply to all Americans.

    • Nancy Rasmussen says:

      Michael, I found your post to be extremely impactful. Your use of repetition for the phrase “mass incarceration” only ingrained it more into my head that this is the scary reality we live in today. One specific fact that resonated with me from your post is, “Mass incarceration is the use of law enforcement officials to respond to calls for mental health and drug addiction with no restorative justice or rehabilitation policies in place other than to lock up people who suffer from these ailments.” This is definitely concerning and makes me question if law enforcement officials even care about people’s well-being or if they’re simply trying to reach their quota for the month. There definitely needs to be a change here in our justice system if the answer is the latter.

  22. Samantha Lunt says:

    Mass incarceration is an increase in the amount of people in prison. This is due to the fact that people who commit minor offenses are put in prison. Mass incarceration has disproportionately affected people of color because of a the fact that they are imprisoned for minor crimes at a higher rate than whites. As stated in the article from the Huffington Post black men are 6 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white men and 1 of every 4 black men can expect to be imprisoned in there lifetime. While the United States is only 13% black and 61% white. This shows that the system is severely corrupt. The relationship between people of color and the police is a very negative one. The system has trained police to think all people of color are a threat. The police should be protecting everybody, however people of color are not protected by police, rather they are threatened by them. This goes back to the fact that changes needs to occur in our criminal justice system. Everyone should feel they can be protected by police not just whites.

    • Erin Spence says:

      Hi Samantha! I think bringing up the point about the overall percentages of black and white people in the United States is really important. It may be true that white people make up a greater percentage of incarcerated people in this country, but as you pointed out, the actual number of black people in our prison system is much higher than white people. I also think the idea of protection is really important. Everyone should feel that they have the ability to live without fear of those who are meant to protect, but this is untrue for people of color in this country. The police are taught to fear and defend with violence instead of allowing time for justice and truth.

  23. Jonathan Limey says:

    Mass Incarceration is the large placement of people in prison leaving the countries percentage of people in prison disproportionate to the rest of the world number of incarcerated. As taught by #DoTheWork, Black people are at a significant disadvantage due to Mass Incarceration. The stats according to the Huff Post is 1 in 4 African Americans can expect prison in their lifetime. This has lead to a very poor relationship between people of color and the police. The Black Lives Matter protest is rooted in this poor relationship and how it has caused brutality. Black people are taught that it is safer to live in a world afraid of the police because you never know who is good or who is bad. I have seen a video of a little girl of color not any older than 4 being taught to hold her hands to her chest, say her full name and that she is unarmed, and then the little girl was congratulated by her parents. The dad said it is because you never know what life will throw at you. Although the strained relationship between Black people and the police is more than just Mass Incarceration, it has played a role in making it harder to fix.

    • Parker Taft says:

      I like your comment Johnathan and I agree that the poor relationship between police and communities of color is in part do to the increased rate of incarcerations’ of member of the African American, Latinx and other communities. But could we also say that popular media perception has played a role in reinforcing these stereotypes on both sides and contributed to the poor relationship as well?

  24. Rachel Gifford says:

    Mass incarceration is imprisonment of a large proportion of a community/population. Our country has dramatically expanded our jails and prisons since 1965.The scary part is a lot of people believe that we are somehow safer by the higher rates of people in prison. This is not true instead our country needs to have more social programs so that people who don’t belong in prison aren’t placed there. Black people are 6 times more likely to be incarcerated than white men. This shows that mass incarceration has disproportionally impacted people of color. The prison system is working exactly as it was designed to work. It was designed to target people of color and it continues to do that to this day. Black people are more likely to face police searches, physical force when being arrested, be arrested as a juvenile, and they are more likely to be pulled over. The relationship between law enforcement and people of color is a negative relationship. Police are encouraged to incarcerate black people and patrol black neighborhoods. In court black people are more likely to face harsher punishments instead of community service. The systematic racism within the criminal justice system needs to end.

    • Jonathan Limey says:

      Hey Rachel! I really like how you brought up that this has been happening since 1965. It is important to note that this is an old problem which has never been fixed. Just thinking about the fact that it has been 75 years is crazy to think about and sickening.

  25. Alexis D'Aloia says:

    Mass incarceration occurs because we put people behind bars for even miniscule, non violent crimes. This overpopulates the prisons as we put people in jail rather than work to rehabilitate or use other means of justice. Mass incarceration disproportionately impacts people of color because they are overrepresented in the prison system. There is more policing in neighborhoods of people of color which then leads to greater numbers in prisons. If you are spending more time in a specific area, then you are going to naturally run into more crime than the areas that you are policing less in, making it seem that there is more crime in those areas. There’s no doubt that the relationship between law enforcement and people of color is negatively affected. All statistics point to the fact that people of color are treated unfairly in all aspects of the justice system. Because of this, it only makes sense that people of color may hold negative views of law enforcement. It is a system that has continuously wronged them and proved to be systemically racist.

    • Rachel Gifford says:

      Hi Alexis, I really liked your comment and it reminded me of the video we were asked to watch for do the work. In the video they talked about more policing in neighborhoods of color, which you also mentioned. I completely agree with your statement that police are bound to arrest more people of color when they constantly patrol black neighborhoods.

  26. Nora Diede says:

    Mass incarceration is what occurs when there is a surge in the numbers of people imprisoned. This practice has disproportionately impacted people of color to a very high extreme. This can be seen in so many statistics, including the fact that 1 in 13 African Americans have lost their right to vote because of being convicted of a felony, whereas only 1 in 56 six white people face the same disenfranchisement. Incarceration has impacted people of color because of disproportionate policing in areas with high populations of people of color. Law enforcement severely negatively impacts communities and individuals of color. As said in the video there are men of color that the speaker knew, who were not deserving of jail time. However, due to the systematic racism and tendency for the police to target people of color, they ended up in prison, and because of this become more likely to return to the prison system. Incarceration affects people of color to a much higher extent then white people. This can be shown as prisoners of color are much more likely than white prisoners to face longer sentences. It’s also very clear that the law enforcement system in the United States needs to use welfare programs instead of incarceration to handle people struggling with mental health issues, poverty, physical disabilities and many more aspects of life. By doing so there will be a decrease in imprisonment and with this, less lives impacted by the dangers of incarceration, including the extreme difficulty of finding a job after being incarcerated. This is an example of how the law enforcement have negatively impacted people of color, as when they are incarcerated at high rates, they also face the harsh treatment of post imprisonment.

    • Alexis D'Aloia says:

      Hey Nora! You pulled out some really important statistics here, and the way you explained the need for welfare programs is something that really needs to be understood by everyone. It is not fair for individuals to be put in jail, only to be released and likely not receive the help they need to succeed. This just perpetuates the cycle of them ending up back in jail, with issues never being solved and no rehabilitation happening.

  27. Amanda Molloy says:

    To my understanding, mass incarceration in an extreme increase in the amount of people being imprisoned. I think the fact that black men are six times more likely to be incarcerated than white men and hispanic men are 2.3 times as likely says a lot about the disproportionate impact on people of color. The fact that white people make up more of the overall population in America but a person of color is more than double as likely to go to prison says a lot about the injustice. I think another thing beyond just saying incarceration as a whole, looking at each step of the process, a person of color is more likely to be stopped by police, searched by police and kept in prison longer. I do think that there is a target placed on a person of color in this country when it comes to justice in our courts and prison systems. In think because people of color have been targeted there is a relationship surrounded by fear between them and law enforcement. I think that as a white person I am confident that a police officer would be a source of protection for me, but for a person of color I think a police officer is seen as a threat. This double standard, simply based on skin color is the basis, I think, of the injustices in arrests and imprisonment in our country. White people should not have the protection of law enforcement while a person of color lives in fear of the people that are supposed to protect them.

    • Nora Diede says:

      Hi Amanda,
      While reading your blog I really think that it was important that you mentioned the way that people of color are treated by police, in comparison to white people. This is so important because, as you say this double standard, shows the systematic racism that is so very present in todays society. Recognizing this inequity and speaking about it is something that I think is really important, and I really liked that you brought it up. I also think that it is important that you noted the disparities in incarceration in relation to the population. By incorporating this statistic you put the severe racial injustice in perspective for those with little knowledge about the injustices in the criminal justice system.

  28. Marlie says:

    Day 12: Racism in the Courtroom of #DoTheWork focused on a video, reading, and reflecting. Mass incarceration means mass imprisonment. David Garland coined the term to describe the expansion of imprisonment in the United States between 1975 and the late 1990s. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the US makes up about 5% of the global population, but has nearly 25% of the world’s prison population. The beginning of mass incarceration was a way to characterize social ills in any capacity, rather than using the welfare system. Mass incarceration very clearly disproportionately affects people of color. In the video we watched, an individual mentioned how during the war on drugs, people were sick and needed treatment, however, the response was instead to see them as criminals. By looking at police brutality and the criminal justice system, such racial disparities are evident. I think the relationship between law enforcement and people of color is affected negatively. The list of 18 examples of racism in the criminal legal system clearly and concisely lay out the various systemic inequities.

    • Amanda Molloy says:

      Hi Marlie! I really like how you bring up the point that mass incarceration began as a way to characterize social ills, instead of our welfare system being used. I think this really connects the importance of having stable and sustainable social welfare programs to help people out of situations rather than letting it get to the point where they are unfairly imprisoned and forced into the issue of mass incarceration in our country. I agree that it is important to see people in the situation that they are in and not label everyone with a problem surrounded by a stigma, like addiction, as criminals.

    • Kate Callery says:

      Marlie I really enjoyed that you talked about the needs of people (for drug addiction) are masked as crimes (drug offenses). I think back on the history of the United States and how quickly we’ll assume someone’s guilt rather than recognize that they are flawed and need help.

  29. Samantha Gisleson says:

    Mass incarceration is a policy choice that has led to the handling of crime (even low level ones) through the criminal justice system, rather than the social welfare system. For example, instead of sending a drug offender to rehab, he or she will likely be sent to prison. However, the likelihood of being sent to prison isn’t just impacted by whether or not a person committed a crime, but also what they look like. People of color are twice as likely to be arrested than a white person. In short, mass incarceration has become slavery in a new form.
    People of color are more likely to go to prison for the same crime that a white person committed. This is because of the number of police officers in white communities compared to black and brown communities. Going to prison in America is no longer about the act of committing a crime, but rather the amount of policing where crimes are being committed.
    One quotation from the video we watched that stuck out to me was that our country is not facing a crisis of crime but rather a “crisis of incarceration.” The policing system in this country desperately needs reform. I think the big thing here is that although defunding could be included, the biggest thing is that police officers in America need to receive more training and go through a more selective hiring process. People of color should be no more afraid of being stopped by a police officer than a white person. We need to rework the system and rid it of the terrible racial bias that it is permitting.

    • Marlie says:

      Hi Sam! I appreciate how you mentioned low level crimes and their role in mass incarceration. People of color are not only arrested for their crime, but also on the color of their skin. Furthermore, people of color are more likely to serve longer sentences than their white counterparts who committed the same crime. This can also be connected to Day 10 of #DoTheWork in regard to housing racism and the distribution of policing in various neighborhoods.

    • Alexis D'Aloia says:

      Hey Sam! You made amazing points here. I wanted to Bonner snap when you said mass incarceration has become slavery in a new form because it is so true. I also felt the need to snap in response to prison being more about the amount of policing where crimes are committed. This is something that I had also noted because it’s so clearly an issue.

  30. Nia Colon says:

    Mass incarceration refers to the high rate of imprisonment in the U.S. It disproportionately impacts people of color because more people of color are put in prison even for minor offenses. I think the relationship between law enforcement and people of color over time has made a negative impact. I think because there was never a good foundation between the two it never really had the chance to be able to make a poster impact.

    • Dana Wakeman says:

      I agree with you Nia, the problems with the criminal justice system started at its inception so there needs to be a systematic change to improve it.

    • Ava Bibisi says:

      I agree with you that the relationship between law enforcement and people of color is at a negative. If we don’t work as a society, this will only move toward a decline rather than become a positive in the world. We have to be the change and despite the past, move forward in doing what the world needs today and how we best can put our efforts forward through change.

  31. Ava Bibisi says:

    Mass incarceration is the way the United States locks up a majority of its population in federal and state prisons along with in local jails. In the United States today, disproportionately black or Latino prisoners have a higher probability of being sentenced and are receiving seemingly worse treatment than a white prisoner. To me, the statistic stating that one in every four African American males born this decade can be expected to go to jail is shocking, yet some can argue that this isn’t always because these males are doing something worth being sentenced for. The criminal legal system has problems that need to be altered and systems that don’t allow fair outcomes. The police are working in order to keep safety within communities and that means all people. Whether an individual is white, or of color, what they’re doing to put the community at risk should be what matters, not how they are perceived. The law enforcements need to find a way to make the shift in reforming and protecting the community as a whole, not based on race.

    • Samantha Gisleson says:

      Hi Ava! I really enjoyed reading your post. I too was shocked by the 1 in 4 statistic; it honestly made me sick. Like you, I also recognize the argument that people are deserving of their sentencing; however, the fact that more people of color get arrested and sentenced is not because they are committing more crimes than their white counterparts, but because of police bias and the sheer number of police deployed in each respective community. I agree one hundred percent with your point that the police should be an institution that keeps people safe; all people safe. There is definite reform needed in our criminal justice system, and I only hope that this type of reform is something that you and I will see in our lifetime.

  32. Abigail Hoekman says:

    Mass incarceration is the continuation of racial injustice by placing people of color into the prison system. The United States has used jargon such as “world on drugs”, “law and order” and “criminals” as synonymous with people of color. Many people who are sick and suffer from addiction need some form of rehabilitation or medical assistance rather than prison where they are sent. The rate of drug use is the same across races. The only disparity is sentencing. The police have selected which drugs will carry greater sentences, many of which are drugs that can only be afforded by those in poverty such as crack cocaine, as opposed to the powder version of cocaine which was found among more wealthy white communities. Policing was intensified in communities of people and color, thus increasing arrests and perpetuating the myth and stereotype that people of color are dangerous criminals, which is entirely untrue. These implicit biases are so deeply ingrained in the systems that aggression and violence has become normalized in police arrests, especially for people of color. Based on the resources provided, the relationship between people of color and law enforcement has been impacted negatively. However, it is important to note that law enforcement has never had a positive relationship with people of color. The police originated as a group to keep runaway slaves in their designated properties and prevent them from rioting. The police are an inherently racist system because of their origin. I agree with the statement that George Floyd’s aunt stated in her speech that police officers need to be social workers, medical workers, and be trained in de-escalation, rather than using force and violence. Law enforcement and the judicial system as a whole must be reformed to protect all people.

    • Dana Wakeman says:

      Abby, thank you for the thoughtful post. I completely agree with you and I wanted to share a quote with you that I saw that says “the system isn’t broken, it’s working the way it was designed.”

  33. Abeer Jafri says:

    Mass incarceration refers to the immense amount of people imprisoned in the United States, especially with an upward trend in the past few years. This system is flawed, and should be reformed, especially in its nature that disproportionately affects people of color. It is so often that I see on the news or social media that an African American person gets a long sentence for a minor offense, while a white person could a much shorter one for a more major offense. Clearly, systemic racism is at play in this corrupt system. We must look at the statistics critically; even if the percentage of white people and African Americans imprisoned is similar, research shows the African Americans serve significantly longer sentences. Not only is this detrimental to their lives while imprisoned, it also impacts them severely in many aspects of life after being released. It is shameful that the United States’ prison population makes up 25% of the world’s prison population, and there is definitely a negative relationship between law enforcement and people of color. The system must be reformed, because law enforcement should be here to protect us, not attack us.

    • Samantha Lunt says:

      Hi Abeer! I really enjoyed reading your post . I like how you mentioned the fact that the United States prison population makes up 25% of the World prison population because I think this shows just how damaged the system is. I also agree that we need to take a closer look at the statistics and be aware of that fact that the system is corrupt and disproportionately affects people of color. There is a great need for reform within this system that has been flawed for so long.

  34. Cody Romani says:

    Mass incarceration occurs when there is a major issue in the number of people sent to jail and prisons. I always thought the purpose of prisons is rehabilitation. However, I find it difficult for a human being to become rehabilitated especially when they struggle to find a home or job when released because of a prior felony. Not many states hire previous felons. After watching the video and reading the article about mass incarceration, I was stunned that African Americans were sentenced for 19 percent longer time periods then white men convicted of similar offenses. It blows my mind that out of 208,000 people convicted for drug offenses in state prisons, 68 percent are African American or Hispanic. Also, as pointed out in the video, minority areas are more policed than predominantly white neighborhoods. I feel that the prison system and police system is broken and needs reform. There needs to be more research behind the reasons for the mass incarceration of people, especially African Americans. I think that the relationship between law enforcement and people of color is very negative right now. Some police officers have abused their power and treated African Americans more unjustly than other groups of people. One word that explains this is racism. Until there is justice, there will continue to be divide. Mass incarceration is a major issue that needs to be addressed.

    • Chandler Edbauer says:

      Hey Cody!
      I enjoyed reading your post. I am curious to know why you think that a majority of people in prison for drug related offenses are people of color? And I also wonder why minority areas are policed more. Do you think it is because they are looking to arrest people or because that is were crime is happening?

      • Cody Romani says:

        I am not exactly sure. I would definitely have to research answers to that question. I think that sometimes it is a mix of crime and racial profiling.

    • Kate Callery says:

      You bring up a great point about the power of rehabilitation and how a prison sentence can change someone’s life. I encourage you to look at the non-profit thistle farms!

    • Maura Lynch says:

      Hey Cody, I definitely agree with your post. Prisons have been advertised as rehabilitation centers when in reality, they have no interest in helping people regain they place in society. The corruption that goes into private prison has enhanced the racism within the justice system in this country.

  35. Chandler Edbauer says:

    Mass incarceration is a boom in the incarceration numbers. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 35% of state prisoners are white, 38% are black, and 21% are Hispanic. I do not think that mass incarceration has disproportionately impacted people of color. In the Bureau of Justice Statistics report you can see that it is pretty evenly dispersed. I think the relationship between law enforcement and people of color is negative. I feel like the negativity comes from both parties. It is difficult to find a solution to it but is not a topic that I would like to solve. I think that police and certain movements have both parties scared. People in fear are irrational and create tense situations. I agree that there are problems and there needs to be a solution.

    • Abeer Jafri says:

      It’s true that black and white people make up a similar percentage of the imprisoned population, but black people serve significantly longer sentences, showing mass incarceration does disproportionately impact POC; take a look at Figure 1 in this study from the University of Michigan:


      I definitely agree with you that a solution should be worked toward!

    • Abigail Hoekman says:

      Hi Chandler, I definitely agree that there are a lot of tense situations due to fear for many in our current pandemic climate as well as situations of protesting where many are fighting for their voices to be heard. I find it interesting that this topic is not one that you wish to engage in but you agree there needs to be a solution. How do you think you can be a part of the solution you wish to see?

    • Jack McKenna says:

      Adding to Abeer’s first point, it’s true that they make up similar percentages of prisoners, but Black people make up roughly 33% of the US population, and nearly 66% of the prison population. So even tho the percentage of prisoners is similar, when looking at it compared to their makeup of the whole US population, you can clearly see it’s disproportionate. Also, I think you had CA trainings when we watches the 13th, so if you haven’t gotten a chance to see it, I highly recommend it. There are many other examples and situations in this country where POC are treated unfairly and targeted by our “justice” system. I think the solution starts with police defunding and reform, as these “trained professionals” are starting to show a gang mentality to justify and protect each others crimes.

      • Jack McKenna says:

        Where do you think the solution should start? Beyond than just putting blame on both sides, because yes it takes two to tango, but clearly there is an instigator , and has been since the 1800’s.

  36. Jack McKenna says:

    Mass incarceration is when a country that makes up roughly 5% of the world’s population, also makes up 25% of the world’s prison population. This becomes a racial justice issue when people of color are given disproportionately longer and harsher sentences for equal or lesser crimes than their white peers. Not only that, but neighborhoods with a majority of minorities are more heavily policed, which negatively impacts their relationship; trust is lost, and any sense of protection it replaced with a sense of being monitored and controlled. Even in inner city schools, the school to prison pipeline impacts the schools funding as well as the child’s future and everyone’s sense of safety. The police, for many in this country, are oppressors, a hired militia by the wealthy and powerful, used to protect their property and profits at the expense of the impoverished and the working class. They enforce unjust laws and while allowing real criminals, billionaires, to roam free and get away with literal and figurative murder. Police don’t provide protection to the people, they look for any and every reason to make an arrest, hope it sticks, and that they will be sent to jail. This benefits private prisons, which act as an incentive to arrest and charge more harshly. And in a government where you can lose voting rights by being charged, there is a large incentive to target and arrest your political opponents, or those who may oppose you in elections. The rich know this, and they know they are making their wealth at the expense of our labor, and they know that if we voted in full force and demanded change, that the politicians and police would no longer work for the 1% percent, they would start working for us again.

    • Cody Romani says:

      Thanks for sharing Jack. I also concerned that the United States makes up 25% of the world’s prison system. I also believe that mass incarceration is a racial justice issue that needs to be addressed. It is a major injustice that persons of color are sent to prison longer for similar crimes that white people commit. The police need reform and need to focus on help people instead of having the mindset of putting people away in prison.

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