Racial Disparity in Criminal Justice System

Topics: Criminal justice, Crime, Prison Pages: 15 (3205 words) Published: June 4, 2014

Twenty-five percent of the world's prison population, 2.5 million people, are held in American penal institutions. (ACLU, 2008). Sixty percent of those incarcerated are racial and ethnic minorities. These figures mean that 2.3% of all African Americans are incarcerated. The percentage of whites admitted to prison is 0.4% of whites and Hispanics, 0.7%. (Associated Press, 2007; Bonczar, 2003; Mauer & King, 2007; ACLU, 2008; Bridges & Sheen, 1998;). One of the primary contributors to this gross disproportion of incarceration of blacks is the result of “the war on drugs” and “tough on crime” initiatives that were established in the 80’s. The aggressive law enforcement strategies of The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, disproportionately arrested, convicted, and incarcerated millions of blacks for relatively minor nonviolent drug offenses as compared to white offenders. The dramatic escalation of incarceration for drug offenses was accompanied by profound racial disparities. Blacks were incarcerated at a grossly disproportionate rate to white Americans and blacks received much harsher and longer sentences, 14.5% longer, creating racial disparity within the criminal justice system (Alexander, 2010; Austin, et al.; Georges-Abeyie, 2006; González & Chang, 2011; Lynch & William, 1997; Mauer, 2007; Mauer & King, 2007; Spohn, 2000 (Alexander, 2010, Associated Press, 2007, Mauer M. 2009; Mauer M., 2008; Spohn, 2000) Mass incarceration functions more like a caste system than a system of crime prevention serves the same purpose as pre-Civil War slavery and the post-Civil War Jim Crow laws: to maintain a racial caste system: a system designed to keep a racial group locked into an inferior position by law and customs. (Alexander, 2010)

While scholars have long analyzed the connection between race and America’s criminal justice system, argue that our growing penal system, with its black tinge, constitutes nothing less than a new form of Jim Crow. There are writers that feel the analogy’s myopic focus on the War on Drugs diverts us from discussing violent crime—an oversight when discussing mass interaction in the United States. (James Forman) There is no dispute as to the extent of the escalation in criminalization and incarceration in the United States in the 40-year war on drugs. That violent offenders make up a plurality of the prison population, but research has shown that the unequal enforcement of mandatory policies in place, black males received longer terms than whites for similar drug offenses, 14.5% longer, this creates the level of mass incarceration that racial disparity within the criminal justice system. ). Look at states in there Midwest and northeast have the greatest black-to-white disparity in incarceration. So when states as Iowa, the 10th safest state in the US, 91.3% of the population is White (88.7% non-Hispanic),and 2.9% is Black or African American, how is it for every 100,000 people Iowa incarcerates 309 white and 4200 are black, imprisoning black at 13 times the rate of whites. The unequal enforcement of mandatory policies in place, black males received longer terms than whites for similar drug offenses, 14.5% longer, this creates the level of mass incarceration that racial disparity within the criminal justice system. Supporting data shows the extraordinary increases in several states of nonwhite drug offenders committed to prison receiving harsher sentences for similar drug offences. (Alexander, 2010; Tonry, 1994 (ACLU, 2008; Alexander, 2010; Green, 2012Lacey, 2010; Bonczar, 2003; Glaze & Herberman, 2010; Mauer, 2009; Mauer, 2008; M Mauer and King (2007);Russell-Brown, 2008; Mauer & King 2007; The Institute for Economics and Peace, 2012; Petersilia,1983; Loury, 2010; Russell-Brown, 2008). There have been studies in theoretical foundation and methodological sophistication to assess the disproportionality in incarceration of racial minorities. Research has...

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