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The "Drug War": Wisconsin leads nation in racial disparity for arrests and imprisonment

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PeaceNikki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-06-08 05:48 PM
Original message
The "Drug War": Wisconsin leads nation in racial disparity for arrests and imprisonment
http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2008/05/05/usint18754/
US: Drug War Unjust to African Americans

Two National Reports Detail Racial Disparity in Arrests and Imprisonment


(Washington, DC, May 5, 2008) Ostensibly color-blind, the US war on drugs disproportionately targets urban minority neighborhoods, Human Rights Watch and The Sentencing Project said in two reports released today. Although whites commit more drug offenses, African Americans are arrested and imprisoned on drug charges at much higher rates, the reports find.

In the 67-page report, Targeting Blacks: Drug Law Enforcement and Race in the United States, Human Rights Watch documents with detailed new statistics persistent racial disparities among drug offenders sent to prison in 34 states. All of these states send black drug offenders to prison at much higher rates than whites.

Most drug offenders are white, but most of the drug offenders sent to prison are black, said Jamie Fellner, senior counsel in the US program at Human Rights Watch and author of Targeting Blacks. The solution is not to imprison more whites but to radically rethink how to deal with drug abuse and low-level drug offenders.

Key findings in the Human Rights Watch report include:
Across the 34 states, a black man is 11.8 times more likely than a white man to be sent to prison on drug charges, and a black woman is 4.8 times more likely than a white woman.

In 16 states, African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at rates between 10 and 42 times greater than the rate for whites. The 10 states with the greatest racial disparities in prison admissions for drug offenders are: Wisconsin, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, Colorado, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.




Ranking of States by Ratio of Black:White Prison Admission Rates for Drug Offenses, 2003
(Rates calculated per 100,000 residents of each race)

State
Black:White Rate Ratios

Wisconsin
42.4

Illinois
23.6

New Jersey
20.6

Maryland
17.4

West Virginia
16.3

Colorado
14.4

New York
14.3

Virginia
13.2

Pennsylvania
13.1

Michigan
11.8

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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-06-08 05:52 PM
Response to Original message
1. And they wonder why so many in urban neighborhoods have no respect for authority and the law.
We have come a long way from the days of outright social segregation, but we still live in the middle of what I like to call economic segregation.
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PeaceNikki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-06-08 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. We still have a long way to go. The study shows how very different some areas treat minorities.
WI, and Milwaukee specifically, still has a lot of growing to do. Unemployment among minorities here is 2-3 times that of whites.

Editorial: Black, young and male: A crisis
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=344800

ESTIMATED UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN WISCONSIN IN 2004, BY RACE AND GENDER
White men: 5%
African-American men: 17.8%
Hispanic men: 9.9%
White women: 3.8%
African-American women: 15.3%
Hispanic women: 11%
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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nebenaube Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-06-08 06:25 PM
Response to Original message
3. to be fair about this and I'm usually on the other side of this...
Edited on Tue May-06-08 06:26 PM by nebenaube
I've been in WI for 14 years and where I am at there are not many blacks. A town of ~60,000 and you can go out in public not see a black person in public for days. However we have this little problem with Chicago Drug Gangs bringing crack, coke and meth into the area.
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PeaceNikki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-06-08 06:29 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Well, I am near Milwaukee and racial disparity here is very real.
I also lived in Chicago area for many years and I am quite frankly sick of a lot of people in Wisconsin placing blame on IL and Chicago for their own issues.
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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-06-08 06:29 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. But the chart shows the rate at which drug offenders are sent to prison....
.... and there's a huge disparity in Wisconsin in the rates at which white drug offenders and black drug offenders are sent to prison. So even though Wisconsin has a relatively small black population, that doesn't justify the huge disparity in the rate of incarceration for drug offenders.
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PeaceNikki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-06-08 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. You're right. It makes it worse.
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