Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindedness


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• This paper will be due on Blackboard, Monday December 3rd at Midnight and should be 4-5 pages, double-spaced. It is worth 15% of your final grade. Your 3-4 page essay should include a combination of your own ideas, analysis, observations and examples as they relate to the specific evidence and arguments made by Alexander. 1. Read Chapter 1 of Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindedness (New York: The New Press, 2011), 13. (available on Blackboard) Locate Alexander’s key argument in the book. What is she arguing and why? Write an analytical essay in which you discuss whether you or not you support Alexander’s position on mass incarceration and race. You will need to bring in one article to help support your argument. In this essay remember to state your own position in a thesis statement and then support that thesis by discussing specific points from the book that address Alexander’s main arguments. 2. Speak directly to these questions: Do I agree with Alexander that the US prison system operates as a new Jim Crow system? Do I agree that “mass incarceration operates as a tightly networked system of laws, policies, customs, and institutions” that locks black Americans, particularly black males, into an undercaste? 3. **Incorporate outside research that provides evidence of the topics brought up by the author- either incarceration, systemic racism, civil rights in the 21st century, police activity, etc. Choose articles (scholarly or newspaper) or websites that provides strong evidence (not simply opinion) to support your argument and speak to the issues raised in Alexander’s book. Below I provide some sources for finding more information on contemporary criminal justice issues. • The Marshall Project: https://www.themarshallproject.org/ • Mayors DiBlasio’s Plan to Close Rikers http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/427-17/mayor-de-blasio-smaller-safer-fairer–roadmap-closing-rikers-island- • The Campaign to Close Rikers http://www.closerikers.org/ • New York State Criminal Justice Reforms: https://www.ny.gov/programs/criminal-justice-reform-0 • New York State Criminal Justice Statistics: http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/crimnet/ojsa/stats.htm • NYC Criminal Justice Reform Act: https://council.nyc.gov/legislation/criminal-justice-reform/

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