skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 201498 Find in a Library
Title: Linking the Structure of African-American Criminalization to the Spread of HIV/AIDS
Journal: Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice  Volume:19  Issue:3  Dated:August 2003  Pages:270-292
Author(s): Anthony J. Lemelle Jr.
Date Published: August 2003
Page Count: 23
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the link of African-American processes of criminalization with the spread of HIV/AIDS among African-Americans.
Abstract: The latest AIDS statistics show a high toll of HIV/AIDS on people of African descent in the United States. Although Blacks represent around 12 percent of the total population, they account for 37.7 percent of the accumulated AIDS cases, and more than 50 percent of new AIDS cases. African-Americans are criminalized in ways that Whites are not. During the escalating Black HIV/AIDS prevalence period, the criminal justice system was exponentially increasing Black incarceration. This resulted mostly from the war on drugs. A racialized social system conceptual framework for understanding links between the criminalization of Blacks and the spread of HIV/AIDS is presented. The term racialized social system means a society in which part of the stratification system is designed to rank people based on their racial classification. In such societies, there are ways that people are hierarchically ranked, including ranking by gender, class, and sexual orientation. The primary ranking is racialized and even when these other rankings are taken into consideration, they do not explain away the racialized hierarchy. The most important function of the racialized ranking system is the domination of the groups that are subordinated. Data are presented from a focus group and in-depth interviews that collaborate this conceptual framework. The accounts from the data support the conceptual framework of a racialized social system that manufactures both the Black criminalized profile and the spread of AIDS. The distrust of authority and lack of faith in institutional order is a legitimation crisis for the society coming from the men in this sample that express a profound lack of trust in public health. The men believe that Whiteness is out to annihilate them and have made a commitment to fight back. The only way to make a difference among these populations is to empower them. This would be the greatest accomplishment of the AIDS service industry. 1 figure, 1 table, 57 references
Main Term(s): Black/African Americans; Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS)
Index Term(s): AIDS/HIV in correctional facilities; Diseases; Minority overrepresentation; Race-punishment relationship; Racial discrimination; Rights of AIDS patients
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.