Systemic Racial Inequality Within The Justice System

MSW_IC-519-15-MiniGraphics_Racial-Inequality_opt-400x320@2x Our legal system was designed to promote fairness and work for justice. However, people of color, especially black men, are arrested and tried at higher rates than whites. Once they are arrested, blacks are disproportionately more likely to go to jail for the same crime whites commit. According to the Pew Research Center External link, blacks were “more than six times as likely as white men in 2010 to be incarcerated in federal and state prisons, and local jails.” In addition, “African Americans represent 12% of the total population of drug users, but 38% of those arrested for drug offenses, and 59% of those in state prison for a drug offense.  African-Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of whites.”

Here is a look at systemic issues social workers [and all of us] may need to be more aware of in order to challenge them head-on. MSW_IC-519-15-MiniGraphics_Racial-Inequality_opt-11About 4% of American law enforcement agencies report police-involved shootings to the FBI. That is only 700 out of a total of 17,000 agencies.

Found on Huffington Post External link, based on an FBI Report External linkMSW_IC-519-15-MiniGraphics_Racial-Inequality_opt-31-400x320@2x59% of white Americans rate the honesty and ethics of police officers highly, but only 45% of blacks agree.  Gallup Survey

StatMiniGraph1_opt153% of black Americans believe that new civil rights laws are needed to reduce discrimination against them, but only 17% of whites agree.  Gallup SurveyStatMiniGraph13_opt-400x320@2x84% of police officers report that they have seen colleagues use excessive force on civilians.

The American Conservative External link, based on a U.S. Department of Justice studyStatMiniGraph12_opt-400x320@2x61% of police officers don’t always report their colleagues’ abuse of authority.
The American Conservative External link, based on a U.S. Department of Justice studyPDFStatMiniGraph14_opt1-400x320@2x84% of black Americans feel that racism pervades the justice system. Discover the Networks External linkMSW_IC-519-15-MiniGraphics_Racial-Inequality_opt-21In New York City, 80% of the NYPD stops were of blacks and Latinos.  Huffington Post External link


This article created by USC’s online masters in social work program.  Thanks to Gabriela D. Acosta for bringing it to us.

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