Social Issues in 'Just Mercy' Essay

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The prison industrial complex is a term used to describe the massive increase in prison population across the nation due to a rapid increase in privatized prisons, and big businesses that supply different goods and services to these private prisons for profit. Angela Davis describes the prison industrial complex as the government and certain industries having an overlapping interest in policing, surveillance, and imprisonment as their solution to solve economic, social, and political problems going on in the country.

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The prison industrial complex emerged throughout the 1950s due to the expansion of privatized prisons. The prison-industrial complex consists of politicians who capitalize on fear by campaigning on campaigns called 'get tough on crime.' State and federal lobbyists serving jail industries and companies benefiting from cheap jail labor. Prisoners are paid hardly any money when corporations make enormous profits from their labor which is mandatory. This system is much more focused on taking advantage of these people who are incarcerated as if they are nothing more than real estate. The people who are suffering from this system are the people who are being incarcerated or who are already incarcerated for minor crimes in they are forced into prisons and in a lot of cases go through a cycle of getting locked up off of something very minor and then once they get out they have no money, no job, no family and end up behind bars simply off of them trying to survive. Looking more closely at this you can see how easily someone could fall into this never-ending cycle. Along with this, the private prisons are profiting off of keeping these people in prison so these privatized prisons have no motivation to get people out of the place, On the other hand, they are trying to bring more people into the prison system so that they can make more money off of the labor that the prisoners are providing for close to no money. The prison industrial complex operates by the people heavily influencing it. It's composed of high-up legislators who play with the fear factor by focusing on campaigns labeled 'getting tough on crime'.

In this unit, we talked about the prison system and how the system is rigged or swayed toward minorities to target them. Going into this unit I was quite eager to talk about the prison system due to the fact that this topic extremely interests me and I have also taken classes in high school that have talked about the prison system and its flaws. In my senior year of high school, I took a class called American Literature of Social Change. In this class, we read the book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson which covers the topic of the prison system in the United States. This class soon became one of my favorite classes to this day because I became extremely interested and involved in social justice which all started from taking this class. The author Bryan Stevenson also came to the University of Minnesota to give a speech about his book Just Mercy which I attended. Having heard about his experience firsthand was such an incredible thing to see live which only enhanced my interest in social justice. Going into this class I was nervous about whether I would like Are Prisons Obsolete as much or more than Just Mercy. Now after reading, I feel as if I have learned so much more on top of what I learned in American Literature of Social Change. I now have so much understanding of how the prison system is operated and what types of things go on in prisons which is quite eye-opening.

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Social Issues in ‘Just Mercy’ Essay. (2023, December 13). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from
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