Mandatory Minimum Sentencing in the African American Community
African Americas are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites. “Between 6.6% and 7.5% of all black males ages 25 to 39 were imprisoned in 2011, which were the highest imprisonment rates among the measured sex, race, Hispanic origin, and age groups." Stated on Americanprogram.org “ The Sentencing Project reports that African Americans are 21 percent more likely to receive mandatory-minimum sentences than white defendants and are 20 percent more likely to be sentenced to prison.” Hispanics and African Americans make up 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population.
For example, of the 4.4 million pedestrian stops made by the New York City Police Department from January 2004 through June 2012, 83 percent of the people stopped were African-American or Latino and only 10 percent were white. Blacks and Latinos are arrested at disproportionate rates and are disproportionately represented in the nationwide prison and jail population (D.C. Baldus & C. Woodworth, 2004). For example, Blacks compose 13 percent of the general population but represent 28 percent of total arrests and 38 percent of persons convicted of a felony in a state court and in state prison.These racial disparities are particularly pronounced in arrests and incarceration for drug offenses. Despite similar rates of drug use, Blacks are incarcerated on drug charges at a rate 10 times greater than whites. Blacks represent 12 percent of drug users, but 38 percent of those arrested for drug offenses, and percent of those in state prison for drug offenses.
This one conviction has destroyed many lives and still continues to prevent economic, social, physical and mental growth. As long as, the core issue of releasing those affected by theses discriminatory laws is not addressed blacks will continue to be destroyed with the war on blacks.
D.C. Baldus & C. Woodworth, Race Discrimination and the Legitimacy of Capital Punishment: Reflections on the Interaction of Fact and Perception, (2004).
Ashley Nellis and Ryan S. King, the Sentencing Project, No Exit: The Expanding Use of Life Sentences in America 11-14, 17, 20-23 (2009)