In her book, The New Jim Crow, Alexander (2010) argues that mass incarceration is the new version of Jim Crow that allows for a racial caste system to continue to operate in the United States. Relatedly, the film 13th, takes an in-depth look at the role of race in the U.S. prison system and discusses how the 13th Amendment reshaped slavery into criminality.
Using these two sources, along with course material (e.g., readings, podcasts), and at least 3 peer reviewed journal articles (note: these are in addition to reading assigned in this course, but you are welcome to use material from prior related courses), address the following questions in approximately 6 pages:
1. Does the evidence indicate that mass incarceration is indeed the new form of Jim Crow, as Alexander argues? (Note: You personally do not have to agree 100% or disagree 100% with Alexander’s thesis, but you need to provide evidence to inform your answer. This question is about what the evidence shows, which may or may not reflect your own personal views.)
2. Regardless of your answer to question 1, what is the purpose of labeling mass incarceration as the new Jim Crow? Meaning, what is accomplished by using this label?
3. What can we do as a society to reduce racial disproportionality in our prison system specifically, and create a fairer criminal justice system more broadly, moving forward? (You can be creative here, but must be specific.)