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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

black Americans 10 times more likely to get jail time than white counterparts

Report: Prison for blacks more likely

AAPP, check this out. not only are black folks getting set up with tons of herion, cocaine and other drug coming into our communities. We find that a new study finds that black Americans are up to 10 times more likely to get jail time for drug related offenses than their white counterparts.

The study, “The Vortex: The Concentrated Racial Impact of Drug Imprisonment and the Characteristics of Punitive Counties,” found this to be the case, even though blacks and whites were also found to be selling drugs at the same, or very similar rate.

"My belief is -- especially in drug cases -- if you allow drug crimes and you don't enforce drug laws, your neighborhood deteriorates," said Gary Hester, chief of staff for the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

The study, performed by the Justice Policy Institute, based in Washington, found that most all large counties in the United states had severe disparities when it came to the numbers of blacks compared to whites jailed for drug related offenses.

"There doesn't seem to be a lot of effort to do anything about it," said E. Mustaine, an associate professor at the University of Central Florida.

It looked at 198 of the largest counties in the country, based on population.

There were 1.5 million drug arrests out of 19.5 million drug users in 2002, it said. About 175,000 people were incarcerated for a drug offense, of which half were black, even though blacks account for 13 percent of the U.S. population, it said.

The disparity was most obvious in counties that are known for their high poverty and unemployment rate, as well as those who spend a large percentage of their budgets on law enforcement.

"What you keep seeing is this towering drug admission rate for African Americans and a very small rate for whites. In many cases, the admission rate for whites is smaller than the (percentage of whites in the) whole population," said Jason Ziedenberg, the institute's executive director.

"If a community has more resources available to it for law enforcement, it may have the ability to enforce laws that in another place wouldn't be enforced in the same way because they mainly would be responding to violent crime," Ziedenberg said.

“Drug enforcement practices are focused in the African-American community, despite evidence that they are no more likely than their white counterparts to be engaged in drug use or drug delivery behaviors. Local, state and federal policymakers should closely examine racial disparity in local drug imprisonment rates that result from these practices, and consider alternative approaches to reducing drug use and sales,” the study suggests. Read study Justice Policy Institute

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