War on Drugs Essay

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“War on Drugs” For a culmination of years, scholars have argued the use of policing and other security strategies as risk management strategies to solve complex social criminality. Criminality is such a complex subject that governance have turned to producing risk management strategies that do not fix the problem but provide a way for “risk” to be managed. Risk management strategies are composed of two key components as followed: (1) the political spectacle (of methods such as policing), and (2) the construction and targeting of a suspect class. Risk is defined as a situation involving exposure to danger. In order to decrease risk institutions of governance create agents or units of “risk” that can be managed because it is much harder to rid of agents of social “risk.” By creating something that can be managed they are ultimately controlling the instance of “risk.” The political spectacle is the politicized and publicized targeted policing in media and validated statistical evidence available to the public. The construction of the suspect class is also the criminalization of the targeted population. The “war on drugs” is a risk management strategy that, rather then stopping the drug trade, overwhelmingly incarcerates and criminalizes African Americans. As a risk management strategy the “war on drugs” has been a primary agent in politicizing the targeted policing of African Americans and contributing to constructing African Americans as a suspect class. I will begin with an exploration of two case studies that will later introduce “war on drugs” as a third case study and central focus of this paper. These case studies are meant to introduce and explain the concept of risk management strategy. CASE STUDY I: PRISON The birth of the prison and the construction of the prisoner or criminal is inherent in the criminal justice system as an example of a

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