Mass incarceration is a complicated issue, and there are many different tensions that augment its complexity. Race and poverty are two themes that are vitally important in understanding the issue of mass incarceration; both affect and have been effected by mass incarceration.
“So we have a saying that I’ve picked up along the way in my reform work. That is: we’ve had a prison diversion program in America that has worked well for decades to keep people out of prison, that’s white skin and wealth.”
These issues of poverty and race lead to a very imbalanced possession of power. It leads to higher sentences for people of color, recidivism for impoverished people, and many other issues within the system of mass incarceration.