"If policing in New York under Giuliani and Bloomberg was crime prevention tainted by racist presumptions, in other areas of the country ostensible crime prevention has mutated into little more than open pillage. When the Justice Department investigated the Ferguson police department in the wake of Michael Brown’s death, it found a police force that disproportionately ticketed and arrested blacks and viewed them “less as constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue.” This was not because the police department was uniquely evil—it was because Ferguson was looking to make money. “Ferguson’s law enforcement practices are shaped by the City’s focus on revenue rather than by public safety needs,” the report concluded. These findings had been augured by the reporting of The Washington Post , which had found a few months earlier that some small, cash-strapped municipalities in the St. Louis suburbs were deriving 40 percent or more of their annual revenue from various fines for traffic violations, loud music, uncut grass, and wearing “saggy pants,” among other infractions. This was not public safety driving policy—it was law enforcement tasked with the job of municipal plunder.

"The argument that high crime is the predictable result of a series of oppressive racist policies does not render the victims of those policies bulletproof. Likewise, noting that fear of crime is well grounded does not make that fear a solid foundation for public policy.

"Deindustrialization had presented an employment problem for America’s poor and working class of all races. Prison presented a solution: jobs for whites, and warehousing for blacks. Mass incarceration “widened the income gap between white and black Americans,” writes Heather Ann Thompson, a historian at the University of Michigan, “because the infrastructure of the carceral state was located disproportionately in all-white rural communities.”"

                          —  Ta-Nehisi Coates, "Never Marry Again in Slavery: The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration"