Write an extended essay on race, the criminal legal system and prisons in America from the Reconstruction era to the present.

Write an extended essay on race, the criminal legal system and prisons in America from the Reconstruction era to the present. The focus of your essay should be on how the history of Jim Crow laws, convict leasing and southern prison farms relates to the black prison/criminal legal experience in the 20th and 21st centuries (i.e. what Michelle Alexander calls mass incarceration in the era of new jim crow). What connections can you find between the past and the present? What central events, persons, and Supreme Court cases made a lasting impact (positive and/or negative) on the experience of black prisoners? Be sure to address the experience of women (in the past and the present) as you address this part of the essay.

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