High Incarceration Rates In Texas Sample Essay

Texas continues to face a challenge in making progress toward advancing its criminal justice system to the modern standards. Despite the state’s efforts to decrease expenditures on its prison system, there are almost 150,000 offenders currently being kept in jail (Gottschalk, 2021). There are numerous ways to fix the issue, yet they require a significant restructure of the financial flow intended to keep people locked behind bars. The approach to dealing with non-violent offenders must be reimagined to fit into the modern reality. In fact, there were many proposals for measures that would decrease high incarceration rates, yet most of them were met with severe opposition (Gottschalk, 2021). The current state of criminal justice legislatures indicates that the authorities have chosen a path toward more private prisons and stricter punishments, yet this method is financially and socially unsustainable.

Therefore, Texas should invest in alternative sentences and start helping offenders reintegrate into society, as this approach appears to be more suitable for the situation. Harsh penalties for drug-related crimes are one of the primary sources of high numbers of prisoners (Gottschalk, 2021). Therefore, investing in rehabilitation programs and centers must become a priority over building new prison cells. Moreover, low-level crimes, such as drug possession, especially in cases where an offender did not have a long history of violent or disruptive behavior, can lead to leaner punishments. Unlike prisons, rehabilitation courses efficiently deal with recidivism and do not cause as many mental health issues (The Editorial Board, 2019). In conclusion, there is a viable plan to reduce the incarceration rate, yet the need to invest in alternative methods of reducing criminal behavior may be a hindrance stemming from the current course of action.

References

The Editorial Board. (2019). Reduce drug sentences to lower Texas’ prison population. Houston Chronicle. Web.

Gottschalk, M. (2021). Tougher than the rest: No criminal justice reform “miracle” in Texas. Prison Legal News. Web.

Frederick Douglass: Fighter For Afro-American Rights

One of the most ardent champions of the movement for Afro-American rights, Frederick Douglass went a long way from being a slave to a well-known and respected member of American society. Having lived through many hardships, Douglass managed to retain the spirit of freedom that sustained him during all of his life. A slave and a preacher, an editor, and a political activist, he became the symbol of what a person can achieve when he or she is ready to fight for what he or she believes in.

Frederick Douglass was born in a family of slaves in Maryland and was awarded to Thomas Auld as a slave. Having escaped from his master, Douglass became a preacher. Later his abolitionist views found their reflection in his work when he toured around the country with speeches and started his newspaper. Being a political activist, Douglass supported the general suffrage and women’s rights movement. His uncompromising views allowed him to become a prominent political figure, who served as a party functionary, a minister, and a consul general.

Douglass’s Narrative reveals hidden truths about the lives, culture, and psychological struggles of American slaves. Thus, Douglass discloses that he “suffered many beatings” (#172) when he was in slavery. Moreover, he described how all his family was sold to different owners and he had a chance to see his brother only many years after they were separated (#172). The psychological struggles the slaves experienced were the separation from their loved ones as well as harsh treatment on the part of their masters. From a cultural point of view, the slaves had no education, and Douglass was proud of the fact that Sophia Auld helped him to learn to read (#172).

Douglass portrays slaveholders as heartless people who do not care about the sufferings of the slaves. Thus, he mentions “severe beatings” and the fact that once sold, he had no way of keeping in touch with his family who were all given to different masters without the slightest consideration of their family ties and feelings (#172). The only recurrent Douglass’ thought at the time of slavery was how to escape since the conditions of life and work were beyond human endurance.

In Douglass’ narrative, a home is a place where his heart belongs. Married for 42 years to one woman and having fathered four children, Douglass appreciated family life like no one else, being separated from his family early in childhood. Though Douglass traveled a lot to support his cause, he always returned to his family which he perceived as his home. Douglass did not seek power and saw it as leverage that should work for the benefit of the community. Thus, he nearly opposed Lincoln’s inauguration as he believed that Lincoln would not be able to bring the country to prosperity. Later, however, he changed his point of view and was able to advise the president on emancipation (#175).

Douglass abhorred violence, as he was subjected to it many times during his life. Apart from the beatings he received as a slave, he was more than once attacked by the mob for delivering abolitionist speeches (#174-175). Douglass understood friendship as having similar ideas on the issues of prominence. Thus, his friend Julia Griffiths for seven years remained his confidant and fund-raiser for his newspaper (#173). In his mind, Frederick Douglass had resolve few people can boast about. He stuck to his ideas with all his heart and carried them through all his life, notwithstanding the beatings, the mob attacks, and fierce opposition. Douglass was a single-minded person ready to fight for what he believed in. Finally, Frederick understood manhood as the courage to challenge the established norms and change the lives of millions of people for the better. To his last days and notwithstanding the opposition, he remained a fierce advocate of abolitionism, universal suffrage, and supporter of women’s rights.

Literacy played a major role in Douglass’s life since it allowed him to engage in journalism where he expressed his ideas on abolitionism and slavery. Thus, he wrote editorials where he was seen as an “aggressive war propagandist for the union cause” (# 175). Moreover, literacy allowed Douglass to launch his newspaper. The newspaper was read by millions of people across the country so that Douglass’s ideas could find a track in the hearts of many people. Later in life, literacy allowed Douglass to hold positions of prominence in the political system, spreading his ideas across the country.

Douglass’s personal life is both inspiring and horrifying. Throughout his life he carried the idea about the inadmissibility of slavery as to him, slavery meant bondage of the mind as much as of the body. While he suffered severe beating from his owners, he never gave up the idea first of escape and later in life, the idea of freedom and equality for everyone. The belief in his ideals sustained him in the most difficult times when “he was sought by US marshals as an accomplice” (#174) in a slave revolt. His life is horrifying in what he had to endure and suffer for his ideals – beatings, mob attacks, and allegations of complicity in criminal activities. Besides, he was separated from most of his family for decades and was able to see them only many years after. However, Douglass’s life is inspiring, too, since he, a man without education and on the top of it a slave, managed to build a career many people would envy. He was accepted into the highest echelons of power, an example of which is that he was invited to the White House “to advice Lincoln on election and emancipation” (# 175). During his life, Douglass was a party functionary, an acclaimed speaker at political events, and a minister to Haiti, outstanding achievements for someone with such a poor start in life as Douglass had.

Douglass’s narratives can be seen as a form of Abolition propaganda since in them he supported universal suffrage and equal rights for Afro-Americans and the whites. A good example of his ideas lies in the fact that he ceased recruiting Afro-Americans in the civil war because of “discriminations against black soldiers in pay, rank, and other treatment” (# 175). Moreover, he was nearly put in prison as an accomplice in a slave revolt. All these facts show that Douglass saw abolition as the only way of developing the American society worth considering.

The title Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, An American Slave can be seen as an oxymoron since initially being a slave himself, Douglass managed to make for the anti-slavery movement more than many free people. He advocated American liberties that at those times existed for a chosen few, for everyone. American slavery could co-exist with the idea of American Liberties only as long as Afro-American lives were not considered of importance. Once they began to count, a fierce abolitionist movement was launched to put an end to the shameful practice of slavery and grant equal rights to everyone.

Frederick Douglass’ life can be seen as an example of what a person can achieve when following his or her path without hesitation and with resolve. Indeed, Douglass’ transformation from a slave into a respected political figure could be called miraculous had not people known how much effort it took. Douglass’s belief and courage allowed him to greatly contribute to the future of the nation by promoting ideas he believed in.

The “It Will Never Happen To Me” Book By Claudia Black

Introduction

Every concerned adult wonders where the current generation is headed regarding responsibility, drug and substance abuse, family life, and general humanity. Alcoholism is already a significant problem among American teens and college students, according to Skrzynski et al. (1991). Over 40% of young couples in the U.S. hardly celebrate their second anniversary, with many young women choosing to lead a single life (447). Proctor et al. report that about 50% of the American population, primarity persons below 40 years, are addicted to gambling, sex, alcoholism, and abuse of other hard drugs (234). In cooperation with NGOs and other social groups, governments put intensive efforts to curb the problem, but with minimal effects. Reading Claudia Black’s novel It Will Never Happen to Me provides new insight into managing the situation. According to the novelist, most global social issues experienced in civilizations such as America have a domestic origin. Governments, schools, correctional facilities, and the public need to understand such matters from Black’s perspective to find a lasting solution. The following work reports Black’s novel, It Will Never Happen to Me.

Summary

Black’s novel talks about children’s experiences under addicted parents and the resultant challenged social life exhibited from teenage to adulthood. As per the scholar, having drunkard parents is not easy. Youngsters growing up in settings with addicted mothers, fathers, or both parents naturally adopt abnormal personalities due to factors beyond their control. For example, the children unknowingly become unfeeling to some things to deny the natural urge to socialize. Black describes a case where a teenager named Jan struggles to save his alcoholic mother from falling through the window due to drunkard-ness (10). The youngster first tries calling his father for help, only to be ordered by him, the distant father, to act. The boy results in picking and breaking pieces of glass with his bare hands to save his mother. The experience traumatizes the teenager, but he cannot do anything. Black says that children like Jan “walk through life conditioned by years of helplessness and powerlessness” (10). The mother is dangerous, while the father is absent and imposing, making the boy’s life frenzied.

The novel argues that it is impossible for youths to enjoy family life if they have addicted parents. Instead of adoring the sacred institution’s experience, Black shows that most teenagers growing up around drunkard caretakers result in bearing hardships that transform their social sense. For instance, despite being young, Jan takes care of his mother, thus becoming a burden instead of being a blessing and a role model. Jan’s father is absent, probably committed at work to provide for the family. The boy still regards the father as the head of the family, which is why Jan calls him, the father, to report the mother’s case. However, the father yells at Jan and orders him to “pull her from the window” (Black 10). The situation puts Jan under duress as he grapples with helping the mother and bearing the father’s harsh words.

Black alludes that growing up under addicted parents exposes teenagers to stigma. According to the novel, Jan and Bill experience dishonor due to their parent’s behavior. Jan is not comfortable with life and cannot discuss issues concerning his family with peers. The boy lives a discouraged lifetime that pushes him to loneliness. The mother is no longer a source of motivation to Jan as it should be naturally. Similarly, the father is not as supportive as Jan would wish. The two parents hardly live up to Jan’s expectations, exposing the young boy. Almost every child misses belonging to parents with an excellent name to nurture self-esteem and self-worth. However, the aspect is completely absent for Jan and Bill, who view parents as burdens. Jan describes the hurting encounter where the mother causes harm inside the house with significant pain. The boy says, “another night she threw a saltshaker to dad… and he needed stitches” (Black 10). The account implies dissatisfaction by a boy whose mother is a drunkard. The struggle to maintain an everyday life and overcome domestic displeasure forces many children growing up in addictive families to become addicts. Black provides the case of Jan as an addict due to the pain he receives from home (10). According to the author, children in families like Jan’s “learn to repress their fears, sadness, anger, and humiliation” (Black 10). Most youngsters use drugs to realize normalcy, yet the “hurting experiences and feelings remain” (Black 10). Jan is 18 but abuses alcohol, cocaine, and sex and is suicidal (Black 10). The teenager’s woes originate from his family and may affect his future life. Continuing substance abuse will render Jan familyless and jobless like his mother. Anyone choosing him for a partner will face a difficult time, possibly leading to a divorce.

Author

Claudia Black is a renowned author on addiction and its effects on families and children. The scholar has over 40 years of experience in the subject and a doctorate degree in studies related to the matter. She is an expert in family studies, addiction, and parenting. Moreover, Black is a best-selling writer and international trainer on addiction disorders and current family systems. A major focus of the author’s work is addiction’s effects on children, young, and adults. Dr. Black is the founder and the National Association of Children of Addiction board member. Other books by Black include The Truth Begins with You: Reflections to Heal Your Spirit and Unspoken Legacy: Addressing the Impact of Trauma and Addiction within the Family; addressing disorders among children under addictive families.

Critique

Black’s novel is timely, relevant, informative, exploitive, dependable, and reliable. The work covers contagious subjects in the contemporary world, troubling even mega administrations such as the U.S. government. Drug abuse and addiction remain major issues in America and the world. About 30% of deaths reported globally result from drug-related causes (Ignaszewski 10). Families continue to suffer internationally due to substance abuse and dependence, with the efforts put forward by governments failing to bear results. The world needs to seek advice from the expert to succeed, implying the need to read Dr. Black’s books on the subject matter. Black adopts a highly effective style of writing her novel by providing personal accounts of real people experiencing difficulties under addictive families. For example, Jan and Bill’s cases provide a highly moving image worth transforming a society. The immense sufferings make many young people promise never to indulge in drugs, thus the novel’s title, only to end up in a mess due to factors they can never beat. Dr. Black’s book It Will Never Happen to Me is a momentous success.

Conclusion

Addiction is a major global problem, mainly affecting the young. Most interventions meant to curb the problem assume a wrong model that leads to minimal impact. The commonly applied rehabilitation systems are reactive and do not deal with the challenge from its cause. Dr. Black is an expert in the subject and provides a highly informed account for the concerned parties to adopt. The author alludes to the need to deal with addiction from the family setting. According to Dr. Black, helping children from addictive families grow independently can reduce the social disorder immensely. That is because persons exhibiting addiction due to domestic plights encountered from a young age constitute a large percentage and often become the most problematic cases to tackle.

Works Cited

Black, Claudia. It Will Never Happen to Me. New York: Ballantine Books, 1991. Print.

Ignaszewski, Martha J. “The Epidemiology of Drug Abuse.” The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, vol. 61, 2021, pp. 10-17.

Proctor, Steven L., Jared Lipsey, and Khary K. Rigg. “The Insanity of Addiction Treatment in America.” Addiction Research & Theory, vol. 30, no. 4, 2022, pp. 231-236.

Skrzynski, Carillon J., and Kasey G. Creswell. “Associations between Solitary Drinking and Increased Alcohol Consumption, Alcohol Problems, and Drinking to Cope Motives in Adolescents and Young Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta‐analysis.” Addiction, vol. 115, no. 11, 2020, pp. 1989-2007.

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