Racial Disparity in Prisons Essay examples

1468 Words Jan 10th, 2012 6 Pages
A Look at Racial Disparity in the United States Prison System
Micah O’Daniel
Institutional Corrections
2/22/11

Racial inequality in the American criminal justice system has a strong effect of many realms of society such as the family life, and employment. Education and race seem to be the most decisive factors when deciding who goes to jail and what age cohort has the greatest percentage chance of incarceration. Going to prison no longer affects just the individual who committed the crime. Instead, the family and community left behind gain a new burden by one individual's actions. The United States still has a large disparity between Whites and Blacks and now a growing Hispanic population. This racial disparity in the educational
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This obvious job discrimination shows that there are significant negative effects on blacks even after their prison sentence has been served. With less opportunity than whites to enter back into the workforce after incarceration, blacks end up having a higher rate of return to prison (USDOJ, 2008).
There is also a large disparity between races when it comes to sentencing convicts to Death Row. Looking just at the federal death penalty data released by the Department of Justice between 1995 and 2000, 682 defendants were charged with death-eligible crimes. Out of those 682 defendants, the defendant was black 48% of the cases, Hispanic in 29% of the cases, and white in only 20% of the cases (Coker, 2003).
The United States features a prison population that is more than quadruple the highest prison population in Western Europe (Pettit, 2004). In the 1980s, U.S. legislation issued a number of new drug laws with stiffer penalties that ranged from drug possession to drug trafficking. Many of those charged with drug crimes saw longer prison sentences and less judicial leniency when facing trial. The War on Drugs has furthered the boom in prison population even though violent crime has continued to decrease steadily. Many urban areas in the U.S. have a majority black population. With crime tendencies high in these areas, drugs are also prevalent. This means that a greater percentage of those in prison are going to be black because law…