Chamberlain School of Nursing
February 24, 2014
Currently, there are many different racial groups incarcerated. Nevertheless, statistics show that African Americans are the number one race groups being housed in prisons. Together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008. According to statistics developed in 2001, one of every six black man has been incarcerated. Nationwide, African Americans represent 26% of juvenile arrests, 44% of youth who are detained, 46% of the youth who are judicially waived to the criminal court and 58% of the youth admitted to the state prison. Today, if the trend continues, one out of every three black males born can expect to spend time in jail during their lifetime. African Americans tend to attract police officers attention more when compared to other races. Furthermore, African Americans are more likely to get stopped by a police officer while driving when compared to Caucasians. The Sentencing Project report, “Largely attributes the racial disparities in both traffic and drug arrests to implicit racial bias on the part of the police.” “Since the nature of law enforcement frequently requires police officers to make snap judgments about the danger posed by suspects and the criminal nature of their activity, subconscious racial association’s influence the way officers perform their jobs,” the report contends. Many African Americans are unaware of the reasoning of them catching many police officers attention. Generally, African Americans attract the police because of the community or neighborhood they live in. Statistics show that lower class neighborhoods usually have high crime levels. It is common for police officers to frequent and surveillance lower class neighborhoods because it is a high crime area. Furthermore, statistics has shown that more African Americans live in lower class community (example: the projects) than other races. By
police officers targeting these areas, usually in search of drugs, African Americans are subject to becoming a target for profiling, drugs, as well as, various other crimes.
Many African American males are imprisoned due to drug related incidents. Many African Americans living in impoverished lower class neighborhoods lack the basic necessities. Often, many of these African Americans are uneducated. Financial struggles and a lack of education, often resorts in some of these individuals selling drugs as an attempt to make money to grant themselves the necessities in life. According to statistics, African Americans engage in more drug related activities than Hispanics and Whites. According to James D. Torr’s, “Crime and Criminals”, since the war on drugs was declared in 1980 the growth of African Americans in the prison system continued to increase in high numbers. Drugs are causing most African American men to be imprisoned compared to any other race. Furthermore, statistics show that racial profiling is at an all time high. According to The Nation’s Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition, racial profiling is defined as the targeting of particular individuals by law enforcement authorities based not on behavior, but rather their personal characteristics. According to Heather MacDonald’s “Are Cops Racist,” there are two types of racial profiling. There is hard racial profiling and soft racial profiling. Hard profiling uses race as the only factor in assessing criminal suspiciousness. An example of hard profiling is an officer seeing an African American person driving and without any probable cause or evidence the officer pulls the African American over for a search based off an assumption that the African American has drugs or weapons. Soft profiling uses race as a factor among others in gauging criminal suspiciousness. An example of soft profiling is a male police officer having
information on a black Cadillac filled with African American males running...
References: McLeod, S. (2008). Stereotypes. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/katz-braly.html
The Leadership Conference. (2014). What is racial profiling. Retrieved from http://www.civilrights.org/publications/reports/racial-profiling2011/what-is-racial-profiling.html
The Sentencing Project
Heather Mac Donald, Are Cops Racist? How the War Against Police Harms Black Americans, January 2003
James D. Torr, Crime and Criminals, 2004
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Johnnie Cochran, A Lawyers Life, 2002
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