Saturday, May 30, 2009

Prison, Drug Crimes and Racial Disparities

Here are some facts posted recently by Protestants for the Common Good.
  • The United States leads the world in the number - 2.3 million - and percentage of residents it holds in prison. One in every 38 individuals is involved with the criminal justice system through probation, parole, prison or jail.
  • About 78 percent of Illinois drug offenders are African-American, vastly higher than their 15 percent share of the overall population.
  • A Human Rights Watch study from 2000 found that Illinois ranked first in the country with respect to racial disparities in prison sentences for drug crimes.
  • The number of African-Americans admitted to prison in Illinois for drug offenses grew from 1,421 in 1990 to 9,088 in 2000 - a six-fold increase. During this same period, there was virtually no change in the number of whites admitted to prison.
  • This difference exists despite the fact that rates of illicit drug use vary little by ethnicity.
Is incarceration the new slavery?

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