Human Right Critical Thinking Paper Human Right And Social Justice Mass Incarceration

2877 words - 12 pages

Human Rights Critical Thinking Activity Based Paper
Human Rights Critical Thinking Activity Based Paper
Mass Incarceration as a Human Rights Issue
Xavier jimenez
Fordham University SWGS 6050
Mass Incarceration in the United States is indeed the Human Rights issue of the 21st Century. The United States out ranks countries worldwide in punitive prison policies. Approximately ten million individuals combined are incarcerated, serving probation, on parole, or under community supervision in this country. Therefore, it is imperative that this issue be acknowledged as a prominent issue on the national agenda (“Advocacy in Action Coalition of the International Prisoner’s Family Conference [AIA],” 2015). According to Paulino (2017), “It can be argued that mass incarceration is a direct descendant of Jim Crow Laws, a direct violation of human rights itself, and a way to further stratify the county on racial lines” (p. 2) There are a plethora of policies in place within the criminal justice system that violate a minimum of seven human rights found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
For the second time in my life I am amazed to view mass incarceration through a different lens. The human rights lens. According to the Council on Social Work Education, “Each person, regardless of position in society, has basic human rights such as freedom, safety, privacy, and adequate standard of living, health care and education.” When individuals return home from prison they are stripped of some of their most basic rights such as the right to vote, the right to work, and the right to and education. I am even more dedicated to my work with this population now than ever and this is why I chose to highlight this particular activity.
For my activity I attended a two-hour workshop at the Yonkers Public Library on obtaining a certificate of relief and a certificate of good conduct. Most of my caseload are individuals who have been formerly incarcerated. Many of them have asked about such certificates so I decided to go get some information for them. One of the guys even opted to come with me. When I arrived I noticed the crowd was comprised of social workers, family members of individuals that are currently incarcerated, community advocates and individuals who were formerly incarcerated. A very thorough presentation was giving by the Urban Resource Institute. Through speaking with some of the attendees before the presentation began I found out that most of the people there were most interested in using either certificate to help them obtain gainful employment. We learned that A Certificate of Relief from Disabilities and a Certificate of Good Conduct could essentially remove collateral consequences of a criminal conviction. The CRD/CGC can restore the right to be the legal guardian to a child, restore right to vote and restore the right to hold public office. Having the CRD/CGC can remove bars to applying for jobs, licenses, public housing and more. If you...

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