Devastating Racial Disparities in Incarceration

Slate's blog on legal issues.
April 24 2008 5:45 PM

Devastating Racial Disparities in Incarceration

Thanks to Marty and Phil for highlighting the recent NYT report that the U.S. incarcerates more of its people-and for longer periods-than any other nation, bar none.  I was disappointed, though, that the story did not discuss the devastatingly disproportionate rates of imprisonment of racial minorities. 

The U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 32 percent of African American males can expect to be imprisoned during their lifetimes, compared to 5.9 percent of White males.  The explanation is complicated, and much relates to how we treat drugs:  the crack/cocaine disparity and beyond that, the fact that African Americans face disproportionately higher rates of arrest, prosecution, and conviction and disproportionately longer sentences.  And those disparities, of course, translate to amazingly high rates of African Americans who subsequently are prohibited from voting, unable to find jobs, ineligible for student loans     . . . the ramifications go on and on and on. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:58 AM Does this Colorado Poll Show Latino Voters Bailing on the 2014 Election?
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
The Vault
Sept. 18 2014 9:57 AM "The Sun Never Sets Upon the British Empire," Explained in GIF by an Old Children's Toy
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Television
Sept. 18 2014 8:53 AM The Other Huxtable Effect Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?