ENGLISH 100AJ OUTLINES ESSAY #2
Thesis: The "War on Drugs" may have a skin deep appearance of progressive law enforcement,
in actuality it imprisons hundreds of thousands of otherwise civil and perfectly functional human
beings that engage in activities that affect no one outside of the consenting parties and should be
heavily reformed to rid prisons of civilians that have committed this crime without a victim, in
accordance the War on Drugs takes on an explicitly racist character when the victims of this
political agenda are exposed.
The "War on Drugs" is unequally directed at blacks
Social Drug Usage does not victimize anyone besides consenting parties
-If all activities that damage the consenting party were outlawed, the economy would crash. Its
about autonomy and freedom of will
The WoD is filling up prisons at an unprecedented rate
Intro paragraph: (probably need to add a few things here and there).
The criminal justice System is an example of a color blind‟s idea of the colors of the rainbow.
To say that the criminal justice system is fully functional without necessary changes is very
misleading. It is a color blind system where the red letters of “Wrong” can be seen as the green
letters of “Right.” An absent vision of black projects a clear concise shade of bias through the
eyes of the justice system. This brings upon unfair trials and sentences. In a flawed system of
punishment a non lethal mistake spawned from youth can unnecessarily devastate ones life.
Juvenile sentences can be seen as cruel and unusual for they waste away the potential to
obtain educational skills to expand the mind, make it difficult to continue on with life after
imprisonment, and leave the individual with a psychologically difficult time readjusting to
society after being locked up as a young teen and then returning as middle aged adult.
//I may need to introduce the book and talk about the author a bit in my introduction and //maybe
some stats. But I may save that for the paragraphs. Eh, thesis may need some //tweaking. Not
too sure yet.
Topic sentence: Time in conjunction with the capabilities of a learning mind is a terrible thing to
A: correctional facilities often do not correct the individual.
B: Long sentences in prison result in wasted time.
Topic sentence: Prison is a function of ruin. Input person „X‟ and output a new person y with
no money, job and no proper basic educational skills.
A: Makes finding a decent job hard which leads to struggling to get by.
B: No high school diploma. May be deficient in basic useful skills.
C: Have to waste more time to make up what was lost.
Topic Sentence: While prison may not execute a person physically, the confinement of a young
individual is enough to commit psychological suicide on that individual. (bah, I know. This one
got kind of jumbled. Well…. I guess it sounds ok. May or may not be hard to expand on. I am
not sure yet. May need to tweak this)
A: Hard time as a middle aged adult
B: More adjusted to prison life then outside life.
Inside prison the future is your present and the present is nothing but your past. Once time goes
by there is not way to recover what could have happened in life outside the cage. People say
when you break the law you give up your rights, but not all people deserve the harsh sentencing
and treatment in prison. Beatings, solitary confinement, and poor conditions are cruel and
unusual and totally unnecessary for one to experience. One who breaks the law is to be one who
serves their time in a humane safe environment.
//Need to finish conclusion. If I finish it right now it won‟t be that good. Instead I will //put
together a conclusion for the rough draft.
//This conclusion is tailored towards inhumane system. (So I need to change my thesis.
Thesis: Every day, discrimination and prejudice hinder justice from being formed. There is
always room for more imrpovement to produce a fairer criminal justice system by eradicating the
possibilities of biases from becoming an obstacle.
- Defendants charged with killing whites are 4.3 times more likely to be sentenced to die than
defendants charged with killing blacks.
- Six of every eleven defendants convicted of killing a white would not have received a death
sentence had their victim been black - this shows that "there was a significant chance that race
would play a prominent role in determining if [a defendent] lived or died."
- Guards treat prisoners more harshly - it does not help reform; it only serves to demean the
- Jury is mostly white people, and they are racist against blacks.
- Blacks make up 40% of the death row population and 46% of the federal prison population.
- African Americans "have a longer history of rejection from this society than the relatively
recent era of grudging acceptance" than blacks - this is "perceived only as threatening and fearful
to the average white prisoner."
Thesis: Although the criminal justice system imprisons criminals and attempts to conform them
to societal expectations, there is clearly a need to improve the present institution. As Mumia
Abu-Jamal illustrates in “Live from Death Row,” “the criminal justice system is fully functional
and no changes are necessary” could not arguably be a true statement when there is inhumane
treatment consisting of psychological isolation, lack of human contact and physical abandonment
of the prisoner once released from prison.
a. Intro sentence:
The criticism of our criminal justice system is not a new issue, but a prevailing
reminder of how change in American institutions is needed, especially in regards to
2. Body Part One:
a. Topic Sentence:
The argument by McCleskey during the trial McCleskey v. Kemp regarding the
criminal justice system could not be more incorrect; clearly the institution is
dysfunctional because of inhumane treatment of prisoners in the form of
psychological isolation (29-30).
i. “The ultimate effect of noncontact visits is to weaken, and finally to sever,
family ties… Thus prisoners are as isolated psychologically as they are
temporally and spatially (10).”
3. Body Part Two:
a. Topic Sentence
Another form in which this flaw of inhumane treatment manifests in criminal law, as
Mumia describes from his own experience, is the lack of human contact.
i. “Over five years have passed since that visit, but I remember it like it was
an hour ago: the slams of her tiny fists against it- the slate-made blockade
raised under the rubric of security, her hot tears. They haunt me (23).”
4. Body Part Three:
a. Topic Sentence:
Lastly, a theme which sets much of the justice-seeking tone in Live from Death Row
is that of physical abandonment and the responsibility that should be held in an ideal
criminal law system to properly assimilate prisoners back into society.
i. “By state action they become “dead” to those who know and love them,
and therefore dead to themselves. For who are people, but for their
relations and relationships (10)?”
ii. Example of the man Jay Smith who is released from prison
1. “When the reporter asked him about his plans he replied, „I dunno.
I‟ve been fighting so long for this that I hadn‟t planned for
anything beyond. I‟m sixty-four- maybe in a year I can collect
social security?‟ But what security exists in a system that plotted,
lied, connived, and hid evidence to destroy one man;s life, that
took twelve years from his life, his profession, his family (36)”
a. Restate thesis; wrap up what has been argued: psychological isolation, lack of
human contact and physical abandonment.
I. Thesis: Prisons need to reevaluate their justice system and should be reformed because
it contradicts societal standards.
A. Prisoners live in poor inhumane conditions which affects their life.
1. Manny‟s attempted murder: pill cocktails and induced seizures.
2. Humiliation: body search by four guards.
3. Mental illnesses occur faster because of isolation
4. Toxic shock: gasoline (fumes?) in the drinking water and were told to the
prisoners that it was okay for them to drink it.
B. Prisoners aren‟t reform while they are in confinement, there should be
programs that would assist them in change of better behavior and character.
1. Statistics show that released prisoners are re-arrested because they are not
completely reformed who would be best suited within society.
a) Stats show more than 2/3 of prisoners are re-arrested when they
b) 8 times more prisoners since 1970
2. Demand to build more prisons and programs are cut back to prevent
prisoners to learn something new while serving their time.
a) P.110 – to learn something out of prison, some knowledge, and a
chance for some education
b) Citizens would have to be taxed more to have both more prisons
and correcting facilities, however, the novel contradicts the
statement in which, having a live inmate would cost more than
executing one. Are the facts hypocrisy?
II. Conclusion: Evidence from the novel and studied research prove that prisons are
not meeting their own standards in providing the right character building skills towards
these inmates in hopes to correct their behavior and person when released back into
There is a book named Live From Death Row, by John Edgar Wideman and it talks about prison
life and how the federal and state governments are unjust. I agree with Mumia Abul-Jamal a
character in the book facing prosecution and how he believes prison life is hell. He describes
prison life as inhumane since there are no rights and no say. Mumia feels the struggle here, “ Mix
in solitary confinemenet, around the clock-in, no contact visits, no prison jobs, no education
programs by which to grow, pyshciatric “treatment” facilities designed only to drug you into a
A. Who is Mumia Abul- Jamal?
B. Where does this story take place?
C. What is Muima Concerned about?
A. How come he is in prison?
B. Who is to blame for the lack of help?
C. The majority of prisoners and their situations
A. Mumia‟s role models
B. His association and beliefs
A. The federal and state systems
B. Prison life
C. To chose you destiny
D. How to survive
Nothing in this world is perfect and fully functional, least of all our criminal justice system.
From numerous amounts of evidence, including Mumia Abu-Jamal‟s controversial memoir, Live
from Death Row, in which he, among other things, observes and examines how prisoners are
hypothetically being treated and rehabilitated, you will see how unfortunately true the above
statement is. Aside from getting their freedom-grasped from them, prisoners are, on a daily basis,
beaten to the edge of a bloody pulp, harassed, attacked, even poisoned, and in effect,
dehumanized. While doing this very “rehabilitation” cycle, the government is only making
things worse, for they are creating individuals who are “more cynical, colder and more
calculating” (64), in turn making the “criminal justice” system turn into the “criminal injustice”
system. By seeing through the eyes of “convicted murderer” Mumia Abu-Jamal, he is able to
take us to the very core of this believed “justice” system, and show us the underlying factors that
make the seemingly idealistic prison system so corrupt.
Thesis: The criminal justice system is obviously not fully functional and it definitely needs to be
changed because the prisoners that come out are not reformed and usually end up locked back
I. Two-thirds of prisoners that come out of jail end up back in within three years.
A. Prisons don‟t give enough counseling to the inmates.
B. No education.
II. Money spent on building new prisons should be spent on programs to help rehabilitate
A. If more programs were available they wouldn‟t need more room for prisoners.
B. Government would save money.
III. Crime would drop.
A. Since two thirds of inmates end up back in, rehabilitation programs would make
the crime rate drop.
Though the current criminal justice system may seem to have some strong points, there can still
be a lot changed in order for the criminal justice system to be more effective, reliable, and just.
Background information from the book
State thesis statement
II. Body Paragraph
Strong points of the current criminal justice system
Bad points of the current criminal justice system
The inhumane treatment conditions in jail
Racial bias in the criminal justice system
Final thoughts and opinion about the criminal justice system