The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness argues that African American men have been disproportionately sent to prison due to the "War on Drugs," even though black men do not use drugs, or deal drugs, at a higher rate than white men [books on drug abuse]. Furthermore, the book argues that because being labeled a felon can exclude a person from voting, housing, health care, and public benefits, that this situation is analogous to the Jim Crow era (segregation). This is a large claim to make (the author thought it was crazy when she first encountered it), and this is a very hard, depressing, serious book to read, but it is well written--it is a barrage of statistics, pleas, arguments, history, and explanations. Alexander does not devote much ink on solving the problem, but perhaps she's planning a sequel?
Here's a good Q and A session by author, explaining the book.
For books on African American prisoners, click here. On criminal justice generally, here.
New Jim Crow