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But the facts are overwhelming.
There's no real debate about that. Saying the US criminal system is racist may be politically controversial in some circles. No real debate about that. Below I set out numerous examples of these facts.
The question is - are these facts the mistakes of an otherwise good system, or are they evidence that the racist criminal justice system is working exactly as intended? Is the US criminal justice system operated to marginalize and control millions of African Americans?
Information on race is available for each step of the criminal justice system - from the use of drugs, police stops, arrests, getting out on bail, legal representation, jury selection, trial, sentencing, prison, parole and freedom.
Look what these facts show.
The US has seen a surge in arrests and putting people in jail over the last four decades. Most of the reason is the war on drugs. Yet whites and blacks engage in drug offenses, possession and sales, at roughly comparable rates - according to a report on race and drug enforcement published by Human Rights Watch in May The police stop blacks and Latinos at rates that are much Blacks prison and institutional racism essay than whites.
The same is true most other places as well. Sincedrug arrests have skyrocketed rising fromto close to 1. African Americans are arrested for drug offenses at rates 2 to 11 times higher than the rate for whites - according to a May report on disparity in drug arrests by Human Rights Watch.
Once arrested, blacks are more likely to remain in prison awaiting trial than whites.
Race plays a big role here as well. Stop in any urban courtroom and look a the color of the people who are waiting for public defenders. Despite often heroic efforts by public defenders the system gives them much more work and much less money than the prosecution.
The American Bar Association, not a radical bunch, reviewed the US public defender system in and concluded "All too often, defendants plead guilty, even if they are innocent, without really understanding their legal rights or what is occurring The fundamental right to a lawyer that America assumes applies to everyone accused of criminal conduct effectively does not exist in practice for countless people across the US.
African Americans are frequently illegally excluded from criminal jury service according to a June study released by the Equal Justice Initiative.
For example in Houston County, Alabama, 8 out of 10 African Americans qualified for jury service have been struck by prosecutors from serving on death penalty cases. Only 3 to 5 percent of criminal cases go to trial - the rest are plea bargained.
Most African Americans defendants never get a trial. Most plea bargains consist of promise of a longer sentence if a person exercises their constitutional right to trial.
As a result, people caught up in the system, as the American Bar Association points out, plead guilty even when innocent. As one young man told me recently, "Who wouldn't rather do three years for a crime they didn't commit than risk twenty-five years for a crime they didn't do?
The longer the sentence, the more likely it is that non-white people will be the ones getting it. A July report by the Sentencing Project found that two-thirds of the people in the US with life sentences are non-white. Thus black boys are five times and Latino boys nearly three times as likely as white boys to go to jail.
Remember that the US leads the world in putting our own people into jail and prison. The New York Times reported in that the US has five percent of the world's population but a quarter of the world's prisoners, over 2.
The US rate of incarceration is five to eight times higher than other highly developed countries and black males are the largest percentage of inmates according to ABC News.
Even when released from prison, race continues to dominate. Race is so prominent in that study that whites with criminal records actually received better treatment than blacks without criminal records!
So, what conclusions do these facts lead to?
The criminal justice system, from start to finish, is seriously racist. Professor Michelle Alexander concludes that it is no coincidence that the criminal justice system ramped up its processing of African Americans just as the Jim Crow laws enforced since the age of slavery ended. Her book, The New Jim Crow:Blacks, Prison, And Institutional Racism European Law of Religion – organizational and institutional analysis of national systems and their implications for the future European Integration Process Issue In Institutional Racism Racism, Prisons, and the Future of Black America Racism: Issue In Institutional Racism TV Violence and the Future of.
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The authors talk about this web of institutional racism in chapter 04 (pg. 61), they focus on nine types of institutional racism Residential, Educational, Employment, Accumulation of wealth and upward mobility, Environmental and Health, Criminal Justice, Political,and Media.