The Disparities Among Minority Inmates in the American Prison System

1792 Words 8 Pages
The Disparities Among Minority Inmates in the American Prison System

Melvin Kenney

ENG 122

Dr. Beckwith-Howard

March 18, 2013

Is the system rigged for the majority, or for those that break the law? Why are minorities more likely to be incarcerated? Is it because of the lack of education and parental support, living in poverty, socially and behaviorally challenged? Race-based differences in individual treatment are some of the most difficult challenges in
American society today and these are particularly apparent in the arena of criminal justice.
Racial disparity in the criminal justice system is widespread and it threatens to challenge the principle that our criminal justice system is fair, effective and
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Some may argue the fact that what may appear to be at first a racial effect is, in fact, much more so a question of social class. In one study of “extremely disadvantaged” neighborhoods, violence was considerably higher in such neighborhoods, regardless of race. The authors concluded that “it is these differences in disadvantage that explain the overwhelming portion of the difference in crime, especially criminal violence, between White and African American communities” (Krivo & Peterson, 1995, p. 642)

The disparities among minority inmates in the American prison system have produced significant social strains on communities of minorities and have been of questionable benefit in enhancing public safety. There should be certain policies and practices adopted that can reduce unnecessarily high rates of incarceration while also helping to advance public safety. Level the playing field, and invest in high school completion. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that there is a dramatic difference in the risk of incarceration for persons who do not complete high school. Research by Bruce Western and Becky Pettit shows that 68percent of African American male high school dropouts had served time in prison by the age of 34 (Western & Pettit, 2010). Consider this: African Americans make up an estimated 15 percent of drug users, but they account for 37 percent of those arrested on drug charges, 59 percent of those convicted and 74 percent of all

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