Justice Undone: A Dream Denied

2012 Alexia Award of Excellence Project


This essay focuses on the effects of mass incarceration on African American communities and families in a "post-racial" America.


The War on Drugs has lead to the incarceration of millions of people. Between 1965 and 2000 the prison population in the United States swelled by 600 percent. There are currently more than 2 million people incarcerated in the United States. As astonishing as these current prison population figures are, they are also deceptive in that they mask the systematic targeting of poor black communities.


Critics claim that the boom in U.S. prison population has gone unnoticed because the war on drugs has been fought primarily in African Americans communities. From this view, mass incarceration in America is just another system of racial oppression, which has roots in slavery and Jim Crow legislation. Since the start of the war on drugs more than 31 million people have been arrested for drug-related crimes. With this report, I have documented the cycle of incarceration that U.S. Drug War policies have created in the communities that inmates leave behind.

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