More African Americans in prisons now than there were slaves

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Here’s a feel-good story about the drug war. It’s been a while since the US has had a reason to be proud. 

Karina Rocha

One of the main issues in the correctional system is that people do not see that African Americans are being incarcerated the most, the fastest and are targets of racism through the drug war.

Critics do not see the high incarceration rates for Blacks as a racist problem, but rather as Blacks do commit most crimes since Blacks are seven times more likely to commit murder, compared to other races, according to Color of Crime.com.

My point on the matter differs. Mass incarceration in the U.S. is racist because African Americans are targets of the drug war, have very disproportional incarceration rates and receive harsher sentences.

Beginning at arrest to conviction, Blacks are targets of racism because they are arrested at a small percentage, but convicted and incarcerated at much higher proportions. According to a Human Rights Watch report, Blacks represent about one-third of drug arrests, yet they constitute 46 percent of persons convicted of drug felonies in state courts. Blacks are also 10 times more likely than Caucasians to be sent to prison for drug offenses.

People do not realize there are more African Americans incarcerated now than there were African Americans enslaved in the 1850s, according to author Michelle Alexander.

More African American males are in prisons than they are in college/universities, reported Oxford University. The Huffington Post reported African Americans represent 13 percent of the total population, but represent 40 percent of all prison inmates. The Sentencing Project found two-thirds of the people in the US with life sentences are non-Caucasians.

Blacks also receive longer sentences than Caucasians. AllGov.com reported that in federal cases, black defendants faced average sentences of 60 months, while the average for white defendants was only 38 months. The Department of Justice information showed that African-Americans jail time was almost 60 percent longer than white sentences. In addition, Blacks are 30 percent more likely to be imprisoned than Caucasians for the same crime.

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