Incarceration and Social Stratification: A Study on Penal System in the United States
Added on -2019-09-22
This study explores the social stratification produced by mass incarceration in the United States and its impact on the economic and family lives of those who were formerly incarcerated. It discusses the unequal distribution of mass incarceration across the population and its association with reduced job tenure, earning, hourly wages, and higher unemployment. The study also examines the theories of Thorstein Veblen and Karl Marx on capitalism and their views on its abolition.
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IncarcerationIncarceration has been described as a penal system which emerged in the United States. We havebeen encountering a highly unequal incarceration system where the prisons and jails have been seen in the poor communities. Secondly, the rates of incarceration are very high leading to astronomical criminal justice rate usually involved among the poor young men. Since the class, distinctions have been going on in the past from a long period. The social inequalities have been depicted in society due to the social stratification. Veblen in his study has identified the leisure class with the rich and the class distinctions have been observed strongly. This stratification has enclosed the society into classes and confined it. The leisure class has not been identified with the rich but there overlap substantial (Thorstein Veblen Theory Of The Leisure Class, 2016).Penal system has been influenced by the social and economic disadvantages and can be seen in the family and economic lives of those who were formerly incarcerated. This social stratificationhas been produced by mass incarceration and has been endured for the given reasons: it is cumulative, invisible and intergenerational. The institutionalized population is usually seen to be present outside the official accounts of economic well-being. It has been seen that the prisoners coming from the lowest rungs of the society have no measure of unemployment or poverty. This has led to underestimation of the disadvantage of the groups having high incarceration rate. As the social and economic penalties are seen to flow from the incarceration stating that inequality is cumulative and is in fact increased for those coming from weaker economic opportunities. As stated in the Theory of the Leisure Class, “A certain standard of wealth in the one case, and ofprowess on the other, is a necessary condition of reputability and anything more than this normal amount is meritorious.” Similarly, Karl Marx has also stated that “Capital is thereforenot only personal; it is a social power.” Furthermore, it has also been discussed that the people 1
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