Higher Percentage of Minority Inmates

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Nichelle McClain
Prof. Shaner
GSW 1110
15 November 2010
Higher Percentage of Minority Inmates
There are over millions of people incarcerated but African Americans and Latinos make up most of the prison population. To attempt to stop certain problems, the criminal justice system just put people behind bars and expects that everything will be fine, when in reality it isn’t because now the jails are becoming overcrowded. Dealing with the drug war, racial profiling, and people growing up in low-income neighborhoods and high-poverty rates, minorities have a higher inmate ratio but the drug war is the greatest cause of why the minority inmate ratio is so high.

Since the year 1980 the numbers for incarcerated minorities has been staggering but for some reason they have always been higher than the whites. According to the new Census data, “In 1980, the number of blacks living in college dorms was roughly equal to the number in prison.” Following the years after 1980, minorities began to get a higher percentage each year, and these results are shown in the most recent census. Minorities and whites got treated differently when it came to suspecting crime and giving punishments for the crime especially after the war on drugs started. Throughout the years minorities in the U.S. are receiving high incarceration rates because of the drug war that eventually failed. People only blame the drug war to the reason why minorities have a high incarceration rate but there are more possible, exceptional reasons.

The least probable cause is growing up in low-income and high-poverty neighborhoods. Minorities have a tendency to grow up in high poverty and low-income neighborhoods, which cause them to want to commit crimes, mostly robbery, to apprehend money so that they can support their family and their supposed needs and wants. But, being unemployed, having a hard time finding a job, living mostly in bad neighborhoods with trash and run-down houses, should not be the need for minorities to commit a robbery because to the law that is not an acceptable way to commit a crime to get money. Minorities commit these robberies for their own personal gain and sometimes in the midst of hurting others. So, they end up in jail because they are selfish and want to find a way to get money, so they go out and commit crimes. A more realistic cause is the unfair treatment that minorities receive from the police and criminal justice system. Police target minorities, suspecting that they will commit crimes just because of their ethnicity. Minorities have to deal with a lot of racial profiling from the police because they suspect so much from minorities. According to Ethnic Majority, “The most common example of police racial profiling is DWB, otherwise known as driving while black. This refers to the practice of police targeting African Americans for traffic stops because they believe that African Americans are more likely to be engaged in criminal activity.” Even though police racial profiling is illegal, police are allowed to stop people and ask to search the vehicle for weapons and contraband; minorities are far more likely to stop and their vehicle searched, so this boosts the minority inmate ratio because police usually find something in their car and arrest them. According to Drug Policy, “Unequal treatment of minority group members pervades every stage of the criminal justice system.” Many minorities get arrested because they are unfairly targeted by the police.

The most realistic cause is the war on drugs. Minorities get picked up for drug offenses more than whites. Drug Policy states, “The rate of drug admissions to state prison for black men are thirteen times greater than the rate for white men.” Even though all races do drugs, minorities are more likely to be arrested and convicted of drug possession. Most minorities are in jail or prison because of the failed drug war. The drug war has been going on for decades and studies show that most...
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