Diary of Systemic Injustices: The U.S. Prison System

Over the course of the past couple of weeks I have had the opportunity to highlight several injustices that are embedded in the United States’ legal system. These injustices have had an astoundingly negative impact on society as a whole, and on minorities in particular. Out of the injustices that I have had the chance to go into detail about. One that has stood out to me due to its extremely negative effects on the African-American and Latino communities is the current United States’ prison system. Furthermore, I believe that this injustice can be related to the Master-Slave Dialectic that we have talked about in class over the course of the semester.

One of the main issues with the current prison system is how the majority of incarcerated people are those who live in lower income neighborhoods and have less access to resources. Furthermore, the majority of people who are targeted and eventually jailed happen to be minorities. This is even more of an issue when you realize how small of a percentage these people make up in terms of the general population of the country and world, compared to what percentage of the prison population they make up. An example of this is African-Americans. According to the NAACP Black people account for less than 15% of the U.S. population but account for almost 35% of the prison population. To make matters worse, according to the Washington Post the United States accounts for less than 5% of the entire world’s population, but accounts for over 20% of the world’s prison population. The United States was supposedly built on the principle of freedom, but somehow manages to lock up so many of its citizens without  providing them with any form of rehabilitation.

With that being said, I also believe that this injustice is applicable to the Master-Slave Dialectic. This concept, which was developed by George Hegel, revolves around the principle that the Master dictates what the Slave sees and perceives to be true. Furthermore, this concept is prevalent in terms of the current U.S. System because of the government, in this case the Master dictates what the Slave, in this case minorities living in poorer communities, perceives to be true by controlling what resources and information they have access to. By controlling and limiting the resources these people are exposed to, they are funneling the people in these communities straight from high school into prisons, which is very unfortunate. People in these communities need access to the same resources and opportunities as everyone else and I feel like this can hopefully restructure the prison system. 



Works Cited 

Lee, Michelle. “Does the United States Really Have 5 Percent of the World’s Population and One Quarter of the World’s Prisoners?” The Washington Post, WP Company, 15 Aug. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/04/30/does-the-united-states-really-have-five-percent-of-worlds-population-and-one-quarter-of-the-worlds-prisoners/. 

“Criminal Justice Fact Sheet.” NAACP, 10 July 2020, www.naacp.org/criminal-justice-fact-sheet/. 

4 thoughts on “Diary of Systemic Injustices: The U.S. Prison System

  1. Great diary of systemic injustice showcase post that is currently relevant within the United States. I really like how you mentioned that the majority of incarcerated people are those who live in lower income neighborhoods. I think that this point has a lot to do with the amount of jail time and who is placed into jail. Many very wealthy people that are convicted of crime serve minimal jail time compared to those with limited resources. It was very interesting to include the percent of African American in prison compared to the United States and world population. The injustice that you are talking about is a great example of the Master-Slave dialectic. People with limited resources and low income neighborhoods are the slave to the Master which is the US justice system. Overall great post!

  2. This is a great topic choice that has been relevant since the beginning of the United States and will always be relevant until big change happens. By big change I mean reconstruction of our whole justice system. You give great statistics that show that our system is corrupt and anyone who says it’s not is denying facts. I also enjoyed how you connected it to the master slave dialect which we talked about throughout the whole semester.

  3. I really liked your topic, and I also wrote about injustice in the prison system for one of my diary of systematic injustice entries. It’s a big issue that minorities and people of low income neighborhoods are targeted and even prosecuted unfairly. The bail bonds system is also another thing that perpetuated the issue, low income people can’t afford bail and therefore are jailed until trial, while people with money can buy their freedom and even prepare better for their trial. I also see no reason why the U.S has such a high incarceration rate to begin with, I feel like the legalization of drugs and sending people to rehab instead would be a better altenative.

  4. This is a really illuminating presentation that you have written on a topic that needs to be of greater focus within the world. The disparity between the treatment of races in the prison system is an important discussion. I like how you brought up the Master-Slave Dialectic in your presentation, and how it relates to the difference in treatment that minorities receive in the prison system. This creates a cycle that prevents minorities from rising above the conditions which sent them to prison in the first place. I really think this was a good topic to discuss and that it opens the door to more discussion in the future.

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