Joined: Aug. 2005
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. - Wesley R. Elsberry]
The other issue is that the vast majority of "Black" people are not incarcerated for violent crimes. They are in prison mostly because of drug crime. The numbers at the government site for Health and Human services (http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nhsda.htm) show that while 13 percent of drug users are "Black", they make up 38% of those arrested for drug use and 59% of those convicted of drug use.
There has been a lot of data generated recently that suggests that for a variety of reasons an African American is more likely than a white person to be charged with a crime, and even more likely to be convicted. There are some serious studies that suggest this bias is a major contributing factor to the apparently higher rate of black crime than white crime. Reasons include the poverty level - lack of access to good lawyers both before and during a trial.
Statistics on black crime are, on the surface, very bleak. There are, however, some very important factors that help to influence the numbers. Consider those and a strong case for a much different view unfolds. Since 62% of persons admitted to Federal prison and 31.1% of those admitted to State prison for the first time were sentenced because of drug offenses, let us first take a look at the racial disparity in the war on drugs:
The National Institute of Drug Abuse estimated that while 12 percent of drug users are black, they make up nearly 50 percent of all drug possession arrests in the U.S. (The Black and White of Justice, Freedom Magazine, Volume 128)
According to the National Drug Strategy Network, although African Americans make up less than one-third of the population in Georgia, the black arrest rate for drugs is five times greater than the white arrest rate. In addition, since 1990, African Americans have accounted for more than 75% of persons incarcerated for drug offenses in Georgia and make up 97.7% of the people in
that state who are given life sentences for drug offenses.
In six California counties independently surveyed in 1995, 100% of those individuals sent to trial on drug charges were minorities, while the drug-using population in those same counties was more than 60% white. (The Black and White of Justice, Freedom Magazine, Volume 128) A CNN article in 1996 sited U.S. government figures that show more than 90
percent of all federal prosecutions for crack cocaine in 1995 were of African American defendants. In addition, unlike convictions for powered cocaine and
other drugs (which wealthy, Caucasian defendants are more likely to use), a conviction for selling crack cocaine can carry a lengthy prison term without benefit of parole.
If I fly the coop some time
And take nothing but a grip
With the few good books that really count
It's a necessary trip
I'll be gone with the girl in the gold silk jacket
The girl with the pearl-driller's hands