Disproportionate Incarceration of African Americans: What History and the First Decade of Twenty-First Century Have Brought
Institute of Justice & International Studies, Vol. 11, p. 87, 2011
32 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2011
Date Written: April 6, 2011
The incarceration of African Americans is not a phenomenon that occurred post civil rights era but has been a practical fact of criminal justice administration since data on incarceration have been kept. Before crack cocaine and three strikes; before the rise of the federal sentencing guidelines and get tough on crime movement; before the 100:1 crack to powder cocaine ratio in federal sentencing; before the war on drugs; before the war on poverty and the welfare state; before the increase in African American children born out of wedlock and the rise of single female head of households; before the world wars; and even before the revolutionary war -- African Americans have been disproportionately incarcerated in the United States. The achievement of an African American President and an African American Chairman of the National Republican Party does not overshadow the fact that before and after these two historical events African Americans have been and still are disproportionally represented in America’s prisons. This paper will review the intransigent fact of the disproportionate incarceration of African Americans in prisons, the historical nature of the disproportionate incarceration, and will provide a summary of research/policy solutions to the problem.
Keywords: DMC, over representation of minory youth, criminal justice, legal history, arrest history, legal history, constitutional history, police, prison history
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