Worldwide Incarceration Rates Betray Racial Injustice

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Discuss, Drugs, Law, The World

Pretty interesting, no? I bet we can trace these numbers directly back to our failed, prejudiced “war” on drugs.

And maybe you’re saying right now, “Prejudiced? Prove it!” Well, you need look no further than the vast disparity between the prisons sentences for people who do crack and people who do cocaine

Pharmacologically the same drug, crack and powder cocaine are treated very differently within the walls of our justice system. Current policy generates a 100 to 1 penalty ratio for crack-related offenses. For instance, possession of only 5 grams of crack-cocaine yields a 5 year mandatory minimum sentence, however it takes 500 grams of powder cocaine to prompt the same sentence. Moreover, crack-cocaine is the only drug for which the first offense of simple possession can trigger a federal mandatory minimum sentence.

I wonder which portion of the population is more likely to smoke crack…hmm…try 90% African-American. The portion of the population most likely to be caught with cocaine? Caucasian.

And yet, our hands are tied. Who’s going to do anything to protect crack heads? That’s political poison if I’ve ever heard it. But what we can do is call for a common sense approach to drug offenses. Locking people up doesn’t work. It’s time to champion something else that applies to all so those who fall through the “cracks” won’t have to serve 100 times the penalty because they’re black.

(via: CATO)

###

In their barest essence, drug rehab programs are expected to help anyone who needs it, regardless of race, sex or social status.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 21st, 2007 and is filed under Discuss, Drugs, Law, The World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “Worldwide Incarceration Rates Betray Racial Injustice”

  1. bob in fl Says:

    On the racial prejudice angle: I will not disagree that blacks are most likely to be arrested, convicted, & serve much more time. It is almost as true that all poor, regardless of race, are more likely to be arrested, convicted, & serve much longer sentences than the rich. Many more poor whites than you give credit to also smoke crack. It is called embezzlement for the rich, grand larceny for the poor. Probation for the rich v. prison time for the poor. This is probably at least as much a rich v. poor situation.

    What is truly shocking is the rate of US imprisonment is 5 times or more than the rest of the so-called civilized countries in the world, & half again up to 3 3/4 times higher than the most repressive regimes. And we call ourselves a civilized, humanitarian, progressive society? Doesn’t look like it to me.

  2. Joshua Cragan Says:

    “I wonder which portion of the population is more likely to smoke crack…hmm…try 90% African-American. The portion of the population most likely to be caught with cocaine? Caucasian.”

    crack is about 90% more addictive than powder cocaine; which is the reason it is “more illegal”

    one hit of crack and you can be hooked for life, (I am not saying that the same is not true for power cocaine).

    also people generally start smoking crack after their nose is to messed up from snorting the powder, thus having a VERY GOOD indication of previous abuse. (I would really like to emphasize that)

  3. Mike Says:

    Not sure where you get your info from but you are incorrect when you said:

    “possession of only 5 grams of crack-cocaine yields a 5 year mandatory minimum sentence, however it takes 500 grams of powder cocaine to prompt the same sentence. Moreover, crack-cocaine is the only drug for which the first offense of simple possession can trigger a federal mandatory minimum sentence.”

    There is no federal mandatory minimum sentence for crack. Period. California for 1 has what is called prop 36 which keeps drug users out of jail by offering them treatment instead. This include crack, meth, coke, etc. Drug laws are enforced by the states. Where did you get this info???

  4. Justin Gardner Says:

    Mike, follow the link. That’s where I got it from.

  5. Rich Horton Says:

    I also wonder what percentages of crack arrests also involve other charges like weapons violations, robbery, etc. versus cocaine arrests.

  6. Elyas Bakhtiari Says:

    “I wonder which portion of the population is more likely to smoke crack…hmm…try 90% African-American.”

    From the article Justin linked to:

    “A 1007 report published by the U.S. Sentencing Commission notes that nearly 90 percent of the offenders convicted in federal court for crack-cocaine distribution are African-American while the majority of crack-cocaine users are white. The report concludes that “sentences appear to be harsher and more severe for racial minorities than others as a result of this law.”

    That bears repeating. Although crack-cocaine users are stereotyped as being black, and although the nearly everyone jailed for crack-cocaine possession is black… the majority of users are white.

  7. MPPdotORG(supporter) Says:

    I agree with this post. There are too many racial problems with our country. This happens to be true with marijuana prohibition as well. Pot was made illegal because of racism and misunderstanding. Here are some exact quotes from Harry J anslinger, our first “drug czar”.

    “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”

    “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

    And in these next two, he completely contradicts himself!

    “Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing.”

    “You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”

    Now if THIS man isn’t the root of all evil, I don’t know what is. . .

Leave a Reply


NOTE TO COMMENTERS:


You must ALWAYS fill in the two word CAPTCHA below to submit a comment. And if this is your first time commenting on Donklephant, it will be held in a moderation queue for approval. Please don't resubmit the same comment a couple times. We'll get around to moderating it soon enough.


Also, sometimes even if you've commented before, it may still get placed in a moderation queue and/or sent to the spam folder. If it's just in moderation queue, it'll be published, but it may be deleted if it lands in the spam folder. My apologies if this happens but there are some keywords that push it into the spam folder.


One last note, we will not tolerate comments that disparage people based on age, sex, handicap, race, color, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry. We reserve the right to delete these comments and ban the people who make them from ever commenting here again.


Thanks for understanding and have a pleasurable commenting experience.


Related Posts: