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Racial Disproportionality in the United States Prison System - Research Paper Example

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This paper shall now discuss the racial disproportionality or discrimination in the American prisons. It shall discuss the possible causes and the impact of such disproportionality to the American justice system. It shall also review the extent of racial disproportionality and how such disproportionality manifests in the prison system. …
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Racial Disproportionality in the United States Prison System
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Download file to see previous pages Information gathered by the Political Research Associates (2005) reveal that the criminal justice system is generally racist. Even as most people in the US feel that we have already overcome our racist history, these practices are still very much apparent in our society today. This is apparent in the fact that, out of the 2.1 million adult men and women in our prisons, about 70% of these are blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and other racial minorities. These people of color are being imprisoned at a rate which is very much disproportionate, and they are not given access to the rehabilitation options which are often given to their white counterparts; they are also more prone to abuse and harassment by various government agencies (Political Research Associates, 2005). Although rates of crime commission are higher among people of color, they are also being disproportionately targeted in terms of unfair treatment within the criminal justice system. Only about 12.7% of the US population is made up of Black-Americans, however, 2003 surveys reveal that they comprise 48.2% of the adult population in federal, state, and local prisons (Prison Activist Resource Center, 2003).
In relation to drug abuse, the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse declare that 72% drug users are whites, and only 15% are blacks; and yet, a greater percentage of blacks are imprisoned for drug offences (in Human Rights Watch, 2000). The Latin population makes up only about 11% of the US population, and about 10% of overall drug users in the US; however, 18.6% of the US prison population is made up of these Latinos, and 22.5% of them have been convicted for drug-related crimes (Political Research Associates, 2005). In relation to the death penalty convicts, a significant percentage (42.5%) are African-Americans, and these numbers represent more than three times the percentage for African Americans in the entire US population (Political Research Associates, 2005). Surveys carried out in 2003 also revealed that whites were imprisoned at a rate of 376 for every 100,000 individuals. This is in stark contrast to the statistics for people of color, with Indians imprisoned at a rate of 709 for every 100,000, Latinos at 997 per 100,000 of their population, and for the African-Americans, at a rate of 2526 for every 100,000 (Political Research Associates, 2005). African-American males already have a 32% probability of serving time at any point in their lives; Hispanics are at a 17% probability; and for whites, they have a significantly lower probability of spending any time in jail at 6% (Political Research Associates, 2005). In reviewing this disproportionate trend in the American prison systems, it is necessary to evaluate the practices in the criminal justice system which has caused this racial disproportion in the American prisons. First of all, among adult drivers, blacks have an 11.2% probability of being pulled over as compared to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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