Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Blacks hit hard in drug sentencing, study finds

From the Chicago Tribune. I imagine that this isn't a surprise to many people but this has to beg the question as to whether or not drugs should be de-criminalized. A question worth answering even though this is not to say that drugs aren't a problem. There just has to be a better solution than sending them to jail...
African-Americans in Cook County were imprisoned for drug offenses at 58 times the rate of white people—the seventh-worst racial disparity among large counties nationwide, according to a new report.

The Justice Policy Institute, a Washington-based think tank advocating alternatives to prison for social problems, was set to release a study Tuesday detailing the different treatment white and black drug offenders receive under the criminal justice system. The institute found that nationwide, African-Americans are imprisoned for drugs at 10 times the rate of white people.

Cook County also ranked high for its overall rate of drug imprisonment, the authors said. In 2002, the year selected for study, more than 166 out of every 100,000 people went to prison for a drug offense in Cook County, the ninth highest rate in the nation.

A Tribune investigation last summer also found a high disparity between the treatment of black and white drug offenders, and detailed how new drug laws — such as those targeting dealers arrested near churches, schools, parks and public housing — disproportionately affect predominantly black neighborhoods.

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