The mandatory imprisonment policies written for the judicial system are creating disparity of minority inmate population primarily due to non-violent drug crimes and the unjust mandatory minimum sentencing laws.
America’s prisons are the most populated in the world, and they are disproportionately populated by minorities due to the set of mandatory imprisonment policies set in place. Over the past five decades, the disparity between races has widened dramatically according to the National Center on Institutions. In the 1950’s, blacks and Hispanics were the minorities in the prison system, whereas today whites are. Is this due to poverty? I’m sure poverty plays a big role in most cases. Robert Woodson Jr., president of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise said the reason young men engage in criminal activity is not just for money, it is to make a name for themselves, to have some expression of worth, even if the expression is self-destructive. Crack cocaine hit the streets in the early 1980’s, infesting the lower income areas. It’s a cheap drug compared to cocaine and easier to come by than some of the higher priced drugs. Is this considered racial disparity? The Sentencing Project in 2007 states that two-thirds of the regular crack users are white and Latino, 82 percent of defendants sentenced in federal court for crack offences are African-American. Criminologist William Chambliss suggest that blacks are more frequently viewed as suspects, pulled over and targeted by raids. I think racial profiling involving law enforcement plays a bigger role in the disparities than people give them credit for. It begins with law enforcement, and ends with the judicial system. In a survey conducted in Volusia County Florida involving traffic stops, it showed 70 percent of those stopped were black or Hispanic according to a Georgetown University Law Professor David Cole. Thus showing how we have accumulated a
References: Audrey Bozos and Jessica Hausman, "Correctional Education as a Crime Control Program," UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research, Department of Policy Studies (March 2004) p. 2 Cole, David “No Equal Justice” (2012) Gottschalk, Marie (2008, April). Two separate societies: one in prison, one not. Retrieved from Washington Post Web site: http://www.house.gov/scott/pdf/wapo twosepsoc 080415.pdf. Patrick A. Langan and David J. Levin, “Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1994”, US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (2002) Piche, “Barriers to Knowledge Inside: Education in Prisons and Education on Prisons,” Journal of Prisoners on Prisons, Vol. 17, No. 1 (2008) p. 10 Rees-Mog, (2008, March 3) Retrieved from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columists/william_rees_mogg/article3471216.ece. Sabol, William J., PhD, Minton, Todd D., and Harrison, Paige M., Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2006 (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice 2007), p.9, Table 14. The Sentencing Project, 2007. Retrieved from thesentencingproject.org The Rand’s Drug Research Center. Retrieved from www.rand.org Woodson, Robert Jr., National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise.