Minority Inmates in American Prisons
ENG122: English Composition II
Instructor January Pearson
July 7, 2014
There is a disparate rate of minorities in the American prison system currently. I will present evidence from scholarly resources proving that the reason why the minority population is so high is due to racial profiling. The judicial system imposes stricter and longer prison terms on minorities because of their culture. Blacks are about eight times more likely to go to prison than whites, which dwarfs black-white disparities in, for example, unemployment rates (2-to -1 disparity), infant mortality (2-to -1 disparity), and out of wedlock births (3-to-1 ...view middle of the document...
O’Hear (2008). The information
given is showing that the majority are disadvantaged and being incarcerated for drug crimes. Among the disadvantaged, minorities are served with longer prison terms than whites for the same crime. This sentencing is unfair to minorities and one of the reasons why the high population for minority in the prison system.
Albonetti (1991) study found that minority status alone accounted for an additional sentence of one to seven months longer than that of a white defendant being charged for the same crime. Albonetti believes the only explanation for this is racial prejudice. Researchers found that in a study done in Seattle Washington blacks were disproportionately responsible for two types of serious drugs, crack and powder cocaine, but were actually underrepresented in the distribution of three other serious drugs meth, heroine and ecstasy, which were white related. Researchers found that whites were responsible for the majority of the drug distribution even though blacks constituted a majority of those who were arrested M. O’Hear (2008).
Minority crime has been researched back to the war on drugs, blaming the high rate of minorities in American prisons to the high number of people now being arrested for drug activity. The information is revealing that depending on where the individual resides or is arrested and what the minority population is will depend on the result of the sentencing. If the person being arrested is white in a predominately white community that person will receive a lesser sentence. If a black or Hispanic person is arrested in the same community their prison sentence will be higher.
In the article One Hundred Years of Race and Crime by Paul Butler, he uses a statistic that was alarming. The black unemployment rate is twice what the white unemployment rate is. The black – white incarceration disparity is 7:1 P.Butler (2010).
Since the War on drugs, crime has sextupled the penal population, and minorities are more likely to be arrested for drug related crimes with longer sentences than that of whites. This explains why the prison populations are so overpopulated with minorities. The criminal Justice system has racially profiled minorities to longer sentencing compared to whites justifying why the minority rate is so high. Spohn (2000) stated when African American males by their prior conviction and harsher sentencing are perceived as recidivist, their white counterparts who may have received community service for the same crime will be perceived as rehabilitated. Tonry (1993) noted in one of his studies that despite a reduction in racial disparity in sentencing, white defendants appeared to be more likely to benefit from the use of mitigating provisions such as first time offender status.
There was a study done by Bridges et al. (1987) on the impacts of crime, social structure and the criminal justice system on differences in incarceration rates between...