“Race, Incarceration, and American Values “
After reading this book I can say that Glenn Loury made great points. But who is Glenn Loury? He is a professor in the Department of Economics at Brown University, and has long been one of the nation's most outspoken Black intellectuals. For many years he was a leading conservative voice on topics like affirmative action, and whenever he focuses on a policy issue affecting the Black community, people pay attention. In his title essay in the recent book, Race, Incarceration, and American Values, professor Loury sounds the alarm on some of the same concerns others have raised.
In this short book by Glenn Loury, he engages in a stimulating study of the link between race and incarceration. Citing a number of shocking statistics, he points out that the number of incarcerations has dramatically increased over the past thirty years or so. This spike in imprisonments seems to have little to do with actual crime rates, and more to do with a prevalence of sentencing members of poor, African American communities. While the racial disparity in imprisonment rates suggests obvious grievances on the part of the American judicial system, Loury argues that the problem has roots in what he calls a lack of "social responsibility" the balance between an individual's obligation to uphold the law, and society's commitment to ensuring fair opportunities and reform for those imprisoned.
I found Loury's suggestions on reforming the injustices of the penal system to be very insightful, calling for a change in social consciousness and ethics in order to improve and defend the rights of those convicted of crimes. Loury points out that black men who are incarcerated experience a 10 percent drop in hourly wages after they are released from prison, and many are unable to retain voting rights long after they fulfill their sentences for even more minor offences. While they are incarcerated, their families...