Saturday, September 25

Racial inequality in the criminal justice system


Fewer than 1 out of 100 Americans are imprisoned in the United States. But nearly one fourth of young black men are incarcerated in U.S. state and federal prisons. In fact, a young black man is more likely to be in jail than to get married or go to college.

Minorities are grossly overrepresented in U.S. prisons, and Prof. Daniel D’Amico argues that the root of the problem may lie with the criminal justice system itself. Laws about drug prohibition, for example, are supposed to be color blind. But people with different levels of wealth face different costs and benefits to participating in the drug trade. Prof. D’Amico says it’s time to admit that radical changes to the criminal justice system might be necessary and preferable to the status quo.