According to a Huffington Post article, the biggest injustice in the justice system is that it is a “race-based institution where African-Americans are directly targeted and punished in a much more aggressive way than white people.” The question posed by the author of the article was—are the facts that demonstrate our justice system is terribly racist simply missteps in a system which is otherwise fairly good, or do these show that our system is working just as it was intended to work?
Meaning, of course, that perhaps the system was actually intended to marginalize African Americans. In this era of information, we actually have the statistics—disheartening though they may be—of how biased our justice system is. These statistics show that from start to finish—from the police stop to long after a person is released from prison, and everything in between—the system is clearly rigged.
African Americans Incarcerate on Drug Charges at Vastly Higher Rates
The first fact is that the “war on drugs,” is little more than a bad joke which should have been labeled, the “war on minorities”. This is not to say that whites do not end up in prison on drug offenses. They certainly do, however while whites and African Americans have about the same rate of drug possession and selling drugs, African Americans (who comprise 13 percent of the U.S. population), are 37 percent of those arrested for possession and sales of drugs. All in all, African Americans find themselves being arrested for a drug offense at rates which are anywhere from 2 to 11 times higher than that of whites.
African Americans and Latinos are Stopped Much More Often Than Whites
If you think police officers do not profile and are, as they like to say, “color-blind,” think again. Consider New York City, where minorities comprise at least half of the city’s population. Yet a full 80 percent of NYPD stops were African American and Latinos. Even worse, less than ten percent of the whites who were stopped were automatically frisked, while a staggering 85 percent of African Americans and Latinos were frisked after being stopped. A California study showed much the same results, and studies across the nation found that while the rates might be a bit less than those in California and New York, there remains a serious disparity between the number of minorities stopped and frisked and the number of whites who are stopped and frisked.
Once Arrested African Americans More Likely to Remain in Prison Until Trial
You may be under the assumption that anyone who can afford bail will be free until his or her trial. Not so. Taking the ability to come up with the required percentage of the set bail out of the equation, African Americans are 33 percent more likely to be held in jail awaiting a felony trial than whites. Once trial finally rolls around, African Americans are once more at a disadvantage due to the fact that African Americans are frequently excluded from jury duty, which means an African American defendant is unlikely to have a jury of his or her peers. And, when it comes time to hand down a sentence, an African American is 21 percent more likely to receive the mandatory minimum sentence than a white person. In fact, more than 65 percent of those serving life sentences in prison are a member of a minority.
What About After Prison?
For your last depressing statistic about our racist justice system, a study done by the University of Wisconsin found that when whites and African Americans who had a criminal record applied for jobs, only about 5 percent of the African Americans received a call back, while about 17 percent of the whites received a call back. In fact, whites with a criminal record, received better treatment when applying for a job, than an African American with a totally clean criminal history. The statistics proving our justice system is deeply racist simply go on and on.
Contact Our Boulder Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you are a victim of racism in the criminal justice system, it is imperative that you have a Boulder criminal defense attorney who will aggressively defend your rights and your future in your corner. Contact the Boulder criminal defense lawyers at Steven Louth Law Offices today for a free consultation and review of your case. Call us at (303) 422-2297 to start building a solid defense against these serious criminal charges.