Racial disparities continue to drive the mass incarceration of people of color according to a new report released by The Sentencing Project, which found that one in every threeblack men will go to prison in his lifetime.
The report indicates blacks face an implicit racial bias throughout the criminal justice system. They are more likely than whites to be stopped by police and arrested, they often have inferior representation in court, and further, they receive harsher sentences.
Even the life of a black victim proves less valuable than his white counterpart. The report notes substantially more offenders receive the death penalty for killing a white person than a black person, though victim counts average the same across races.
With every stage of the system ostensibly set up against African-Americans, communities and families fall suit to unnecessary forecasts, creating a vicious cycle many cannot break.
“Racism is exhibited in the practice – we are stopped more often, we are busted more often, we are sentenced longer, and as a result of the conviction history, we’re denied employment and a whole lot of other stuff more often,” Dorsey Nunn, Executive Director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children in San Francisco, tells theGrio. “If you’re hunting for rabbits, and you occasionally shoot a pheasant, it doesn’t necessarily mean you were hunting for pheasants. When I look at all the people of color getting locked up around the country, I can say they’re hunting for us.”
If policing and enforcement policies were applied evenhandedly, Nunn believes these numbers would change. Finding one criminal among the many innocent does not merit totalitarian monitoring of certain communities however, as his analogy suggests.
Nunn, an activist who previously served decades behind bars for felony murder, brings up drug policy as a testament to the disproportionate targeting of African-Americans.
“There’s a number of different studies that reflect that drug usage for black people is no different than white people, but when you look at the arrests and conviction rates, you would swear that black people get loaded every day, and they’re the only ones in the country doing them,” Nunn says.
Numbers speak volumes on racist practices
Data compiled by The Sentencing Project supports Nunn’s statements.