when Justice lies

April 16th, 2009


When you are sworn into Federal Court, you are exhorted to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”  Each of these phrases carries a slightly different angle against any possible lie – not only are you swearing to speak the truth, but also to not hold any part of the truth back, and to not mix in lies among the truth you do tell.  And so by its own standards, the US Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics has been openly and unabashedly lying about the racial divisions that remain within the American penal system for at least the past five years.

A report by The Sentencing Project uses data provided by the Bureau of Justice Statistics to come to the cheery conclusion that over the six-year period from 1999-2005 there was a 21.6% drop in African-Americans serving state prison time for drug offenses, while the number of whites increased by 42.6%.

This assertion headlines every major newspaper article about the report, including articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  They all highlight the “fact” that there’s been a 21.6% drop in blacks serving sentences for drug offenses.

Ignoring for a moment the extraordinary racial disparity in the enforcement of drug laws that existed prior to 1996, with blacks accounting for less than 15% of all drug users but over half of those in prison for drug offenses, when you take the time to examine these numbers you’ll see that by courtroom standards this “fact” is a lie.

Here’s the DoJ’s chart, which is quoted in The Sentencing Project‘s report:

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The lie bubbles up to the surface when you do the actual calculations to determine the percentages.  The numbers simply do not add up.

In 1999 the number of prisoners missing from the total is close to irrelevant: totaling up the number given for each race you get 247,500 instead of the 251,200 given in the chart – a difference of 3,700 or just 1.5%.  So, not much of a hole – one that can be plugged with Asians and other ethnicities.

Much more troubling is what happens when you do the math on the 2005 numbers.  Each race is stated to have a certain percentage of the total prison population: 28.5% White, 44.8% Black, and 20.2% Hispanic.  And when you take the stated population of each group, and divide it into the stated total, those numbers mesh perfectly.

But there’s a problem. One that would cause you to fail a high school math test, bring the IRS knocking at your door, or cause a space shuttle to explode during liftoff.

When you add up the number given for each race in 2005, you only get 239,600 total prisoners – instead of the 253,300 total the chart gives you.  So although 72,300 White prisoners divided into a total prison population of 253,300 does give you 28.5% – the total prison population is actually 236,900, or 16,400 prisoners lower.

That’s a 5% difference still missing even besides the 1.5% also missing from 1999 – hardly negligible. And this is not the result of a rounding error or from a margin of error.  Nor is it the result of the overall racial composition of the country changing. The 2000 census lists 75.1% of Americans as white and 12.3% as black, while the U.S. Census Bureau’s Community Survey for 2005-2007 put the numbers at 74.1% and 12.4% – the one-percent change in whites is by far the largest percentage shift.

It’s clear that the DoJ decided to simply remove mixed black-and-white prisoners from the system because a footnote in the DoJ’s statistics opaquely fesses up:

“Data analysis procedures adopted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2004 affected the categorization of persons identifying with two or more races… and had the result of a modest reduction in the number of persons identified as non-Hispanic white and black.

There was not a 5% shift in America’s demographics from 1999 to 2005, what accounts for that 5% shift was how those who identified themselves as  mixed, both white-and-black, were used in the prisoner calculations by the DoJ.  Well, “used” isn’t even the best term – they were  simply removed from the DoJ’s calculations and left off the chart.

And this change in how those who identified themselves as mixed race were counted and used in the calculations is what causes close to half the DoJ’s initially reported 21.6% shift in black prisoners – only about 12% of that change really happened.  Dividing a number out of a whole that’s missing a gigantic chunk, an error that results in roughly a 40% swing in the stated outcome, is hard to swallow as simply bad math.

Looking at the DoJ’s chart, what happened to the percentage of black prisoners in 2004 after the prisoners identified as mixed black-and-white were left out of the calculations?

In 2003, all but 1.2% of the prison population is accounted for, a percentage explained by Asians and other smaller ethnicities not being listed on the chart at all. And then suddenly the very next year in 2004, the exact year the DoJ changes the way it counts prisoners who identified themselves as mixed black-and-white, 7.7% of the total population pool is now missing.

2003 total: 64,800 + 133,100 + 50,100 = 248,000 prisoners accounted for
248,000 / 250,900 = 1.2% missing
2004 total: 65,900 + 112,500+ 51,800 = only 230,200 prisoners accounted for
230,200 / 249,400 = 7.7% missing
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Between those two years, when it seems like the percentage of blacks plummets by 7.9%,  16,200 prisoners simply disappear. That’s 6.5% of the data left unaccounted for when you factor in the 1.2% of Asians and other ethnicities left off every year of the chart.

Using the same calculation  the report uses to draw its conclusion that between 1999 and 2005 the percentage of black prisoners drops by 21.6% (dividing the total number of black prisoners from one year by the number of black prisoners the year before),  in a single year the percentage of black prisoners seems to have plummeted by 18.2%. However this is simply because, as the above footnote states, in 2004 the DoJ changed the way it categorizes prisoners identifying themselves as of mixed race, both white-and-black.

Apparently it didn’t just “affect categorization,” in one year the DoJ just removed 6.5% of the data – some 16,200 prisoners – from their calculations entirely.

Maybe through simple bureaucratic incompetence but more likely through a concerted attempt to warp the numbers, people who identified themselves as mixed black-and-white were simply thrown out, and percentages were calculated from an incomplete number that was missing prisoners who identified themselves as mixed.

Because where it really gets damning, is when you put those prisoners back into the system.

For the sake of an argument that will be illustrated shortly, we can assume those thousands belong in the Black column, where they originally were up until 2004. And we’ll assume that unaccounted for ethnicities make up 1.2% of the total, the same percentage there was in 2004 when the DoJ quietly changed things up.

That would change the the total number of incarcerated blacks in 2005 from 113,500 to 126,900 , so instead of 44.8% of the total population they now really make up 50% of it.  And that 50% is only down 7.6% from  1999 when they made up 57.6% of the population. Even beyond the way the data was heavily massaged, it’s staggering that according to DoJ numbers only 14% of regular drug users in 2005 were black and yet they consisted of 50% of those incarcerated for drug offenses.

So now using the statistic highlighted by the media, and instead examining the way the black prisoner population changed year to year – instead of an overall decrease in the Black population from 1999 to 2005 of 21.6% as the chart erroneously states, the adjusted decrease is instead 12.3%.  That’s nearing half the stated level, a fairly large mistake.

A number that was highlighted as the most important statistic by every major media outlet that covered the report.

As the above quoted footnote explains, the method of reporting those who identified themselves as mixed-race wasn’t changed until 2004, so back in 1999 it’s unclear where exactly the 1.5% fit into the system. They may have been a sampling error, but it’s much more likely they were the Asians and other ethnicities.

And to answer the question of how can you justify lumping the prisoners identified as mixed  race black-and-white missing from the total into the Black column – well, we have our first black president, and his mother could pass for June Cleaver.  In America if you have one parent of African descent and one white parent, you are considered black by the media and society at large.

Tiger Woods is the one exception to this, however as one of the most successful and the single richest athlete in the world he can pretty much call himself whatever the hell he wants.  He simply decided he didn’t like being referred to as African-American, so he made up a word for his unique ethnicity that has yet to be applied to any other public figure.

Every other light-skinned black in the public eye calls themselves, and is referred to by the media and society at large as either “black” or “African-American” – the more politically correct but completely interchangeable word for black.

After Barack Obama’s election, this point has been all but closed to any sensible argument. Unless, of course, you want to  try to change his Wikipedia page where Barack Obama is listed as the “first black president” of the Harvard Law Review, argue with his own words, or maybe take the issue up with Young Jeezy.  Individuals will always been entitled to think of themselves however they like, but that won’t change the media-shaped perception society has of them.

Either way, by simply removing 6.5% of the data in 2004 and never adjusting the previous years of the chart to reflect the fact that prisoners identified as mixed black-and-white were no longer being counted in the Black column starting in 2004, the DoJ is in effect lying about the reality of what’s going on. Whether the DoJ intended to cook their books or not is irrevelent.

The whole truth is not coming out, a lie is being told, and the public is being misled about the role racism plays in the formation and implementation of America’s drug laws. A role that stretches back well beyond the years covered in that chart.

Which brings us to how those numbers became so warped in the first place.

the damage

If you were to break the chart up into “White” and “non-White,” using the cooked numbers you’d think that there’s been a 23.5% decrease in the total of “non-White” prisoners in State prisons for drug offenses in the six-year span from 1999 to 2005.  But use the actual numbers, which actually base the percentages on the real total instead of a completely fucking imaginary one, you’d find that there’s only actually only been a 12% decrease.

About half of the cooked number. Drug laws in America, after all, “have originally been based on racism… all of these laws are based on the belief that there is a class in society that can control themselves, and there is a class in society which cannot.”19

The popularly cited motivation for the War on Drugs is that it was a response to the growing numbers of military serviceman who were getting hooked on heroin and other narcotics while serving in the Vietnam War.

Although that was a troublesome issue, when you know the history of all past American drugs laws it quickly becomes apparent that there’s no way in hell that was the only impetus behind this wave of anti-drug legislation, and that Nixon was using soldiers’ addiction as opportunistic displacement.

Following the Civil War the earliest anti-drug laws were passed in some states, banning the consumption of alcohol. But not, of course, for everyone.

Whites could drink as much as they pleased – as well as use opiates and cocaine, but if you were a minority in much of antebellum America you were prohibited from imbibing or using any drug at all.

At the time it was a widely held belief in American politics that some races, bless their brown souls, simply couldn’t control themselves. Furthering the codification of this perception, in 1901 Henry Cabot Lodge spearheaded a law in the U.S. Senate banning the sale of liquor and now opiates as well to all “uncivilized races.”

In this case, “uncivilized” was synonymous with “dark.” At this point in American history, whites could get as drunk, high, or smacked as they wanted – while the brown-skinned members of American society were completely banned from consuming any intoxicant.

Throughout the first half of the 20th Century, any violence carried out by a black man against a white could be attributed to the commonly-held caricature of a “cocaine-crazed negro.” Newspaper headlines screamed of coked-up black criminals who were SHOT BUT DON’T DIE!, and policemen claiming that WE NEED BIGGER BULLETS! because their current caliber wasn’t large enough to stop the crack-crazed negroes they routinely came up against in the line of duty.

However blacks weren’t singled out as a racial minority, the first anti-marijuana laws targeted the wave of Mexican immigrants who were spreading across the American South. They were seen, then as now, to be stealing jobs and government resources from resident whites, and so politicians from that region of the country first banned marijuana use by minorities alone, and then eventually altogether.

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Nixon’s public claim that the War on Drugs was primarily a response to the growing number of addicted veterans was at best a lie of omission. Taking into account past legal precedent, and the fact that American urban centers were being wracked by a series of seemingly unending race riots, it becomes self-evident that the War on Drugs was simply another page in the story of American anti-drug laws that has always been rooted in racism.

Then in 1973, with Nixon desperately attempting to spin his way out of Watergate, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller passed a set of laws that were soon mimicked by several other states and eventually the entire federal government.

They were minimum sentencing laws for drug crimes that, partially because they included a fifteen-year prison term for possessing even a small amount of narcotics, were the harshest the country had ever seen. The per-capita prison population of the United States remained constant from 1930 to right around 1973, at which point the graph begins an exponential climb that grows steeper and steeper with every passing year.

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These counter-narcotics laws that, both by design and in practice, fueled an explosion in our prison population – a population which started disproportionately black – with 90% of those incarcerated under the Rockefeller laws either Latino or black – and only growing to become more so as the years passed. Between 1979 and 1990 blacks made up a steady percent of our overall population, but between those same years blacks went from making up 39% of our drug-related prison population to 53% of it.20

Today that number’s down to 51.2%.  An improvement, but hardly.

Through the 1980s this disparate growth was fueled by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, one of the hundreds of crime bills passed by state and Congressional legislatures in the 1980s and 1990s. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act imposed the first of the mandatory minimum sentencing laws, here five-years in prison without chance of parole for anyone caught selling a substantial-enough amount of heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, or cocaine. This last drug, cocaine, had a unique provision.

You’d receive the same unparolable five-year sentence for selling either 5 grams of crack cocaine as you would selling one-hundred times that much – 500 grams – of powder cocaine. Crack and powder cocaine are pharmacologically the exact same drug, the are only two important differences. One is that crack cocaine is smoked while powder cocaine is snorted. The other is a bit more telling. Powder cocaine was mainly consumed by whites, whereas crack cocaine was the form of choice for innercity blacks.

Critics, for good reason, blasted the law as shamelessly racist.21

America introduced a solution to civil disorder and social injustice that wasn’t novel, it’s simply grown to become unmatched in scale. By 2003, the percentage of our population in prison dwarfed England’s level, our international neighbor whose culture and mores are closest to ours.

We have, proportionally, six-times our population locked up behind bars as our tea-sipping crumpet-munching cousins across the pond. For France and Germany, the difference approaches ten-times as many.

Our prison population has increased five-fold in just thirty years. In terms of the global population, we have just 5% of that but fully a quarter of the world’s prisoners.22 And these American prisoners have one common and inescapable denominator that you’ve almost certainly already stereotyped them with – but for good reason. The stereotype of the black male American prisoner is, among other things, an accurate reflection of reality.

Although only about 12% of the American population is black, over a third of the two-million Americans locked up in prison are black.  And although although only 14% of all illicit drug users are black, blacks make up over half of those in prison for drug offenses. A black man is eight-times as likely as a white man to be locked up at some point in his life. At any one time in America, almost a third of black American males in their twenties are under some form of “correctional supervision” – if not actually incarcerated, then either on probation or on parole, meaning they’ve recently passed through the American penal system.23

This means that as of 1996, a sixteen-year-old kid in America would have nearly a one-in-three chance of spending some time behind bars if he was unlucky enough to have been born black. If he happened to be born white, he’d only face a 4% chance of incarceration – a disparity that’s been steadily increasing since then. In Chicago’s home state there’re 10,000 more black prisoners than black college students, and for every two black students enrolled in college there are five elsewhere in the state either locked up or on parole.24

In 2001 a government survey revealed that the per-capita rate of illicit drug use was only point-two of a percent higher for blacks, and yet three-quarters of those arrested for drug possession were black.  Nearly half of all drug arrests in America are for simple marijuana offenses.  These statistical realities should do much more than stagger you.

If you’re black – they terrify you.

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Throughout history, social uprising have coincided with high levels of economic disparity.   The American Revolution, the French Revolution,  China’s Cultural Revolution, both of Russia’s modern revolutions, and even the ’79 Iranian Revolution all received a heavy push from economic discontent. It seems as if the poor have some unseen threshold, like they can only get so poor before they lash out violently against the system. Like the odds a social uprising will occur increases in tandem with the level of economic disparity.

And for going on two generations now, America’s level of economic disparity has been steadily rising.  This ongoing financial crisis may be what finally causes it to crest over.

The precise era that saw a drug-law fueled explosion in our prison population, the early 1970s, are the exact same years that the economic situation of blacks began to starkly worsen and that the gap between rich and poor is wrenched wide open.  Beginning in those years and continuing into today, “the economic status of black compared to that of whites has, on average, stagnated or deteriorated.”25

Up until 1973, the precise year the Rockefeller drug laws were passed, the difference between black and white median income had been closing. But then that year it changed course, and in “an ominous bellwether… the gap between black and white incomes started to grow wider again, in both absolute and relative terms.”26

In the nearly forty years since America’s modern drug laws were passed, there has been a massive increase in economic inequality by any measure.  In the early 1970’s not only did the income gap between black and white begin to widen again, it also becomes much more top-heavily favored to the very rich – who happen to be almost exclusively white as well.

One way to capture it is by examining what portion of America’s total income the top 1% of earners receive.  The share of that top 1% has nearly doubled since 1970, and it’s now the same size as the income earned by everyone in the bottom 40% of earners combined.27

So the very few families who make up the top 1% of all earners have a combined income that matches the incomes of all the families in the bottom 40% of earners.

Looking at economic well-being another way, in terms of  financial wealth or “stocks, bonds, real estate, businesses, and other financial instruments,” as of 1998 the top 1% of families controlled nearly half of that pie, with the top 20% controlling fully 93% of it.  Meanwhile, the bottom 40% of families actually have negative financial wealth – their debts actually surpass their assets.28

And this cavernous gap has only been widening, between 1998 and 2001 the net worth of families in the top 10% of America jumped 69%, significantly more than any other group.29 In the years leading up to that point, between 1988 and 1999, the difference in net worth between black families and white families grew by $16,000 and the gap in net financial assets grew by $20,000.  By 2004 white families had an average net worth of $81,000, and black families an average net worth of just $8,000 – roughly a tenth the average white family’s.30

With home equity making up 44% of an average American’s family’s net worth and  fully 60% among our middle class,31 the statistics around homeownernship further delineate the racial schisms of American wealth.  Not only do blacks pay higher interest rates, have higher down payments, have less access to credit, get turned down more frequently for loans no matter what’s controlled for, and pay  what amounts to an 18% “segregation tax” because homes in black neighborhoods have much less equity than homes in white neighborhoods32 – but since 1970 black homes have appreciated in value roughly half as much as white homes.33

And as the real estate market has crashed blacks have suffered much more severely than whites. As it was stated earlier, even when income and credit are controlled for black families now have their homes foreclosed on and are thrown out into the street three-times as often as white families.

Exactly what impact modern drugs laws had on this growing level of racial economic disparity is impossible to know, however it seems more than a little suspicious that so many economic factors line up so well with the passage of our modern drug laws and the incredibly disproportionate number of blacks who were thrown into prison.

But one thing that’s not tough to figure out, is whether being exposed to the American penal system increases or decreases someone’s propensity for violence.

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Getting a man to kill someone right in front of them is surprisingly tough to do.  The US Army didn’t get the formula right until Vietnam, when it combined the modern psychological principles of classic and operant conditioning, along with heavy doses of desensitization to violence and the appropriate levels of cultural and moral distance.

Our modern prisons, while not using classic or operant conditioning, appear to be reaching the same ends.  Not only does increased incarceration raise the rate of violent crimes at the community level,34 but sticking someone in jail desensitizes them to violence and increases their level of cultural, moral, and social distance from anyone not in their own race.

No where in the modern world is someone more forced to “practice thinking of a particular class as less than human in a socially stratified environment,” a crucial step in becoming prepared to take someone’s life.35 It is impossible to survive in most prisons without at least loosely aligning yourself with whatever gang your race corresponds to, and steering well clear anything beyond cursory or institutionally-forced interaction with members of another race.

Although America’s five-fold per-capita increase in the incarceration rate hasn’t seemed to have increased the overall level of violent crime, a study released in 2002 revealed that without the advances in medical technology that we’ve made since 1970 the murder rate would be between three and four times higher than it is today.36

Numbers aside, there’s absolutely no way spending time in prison pacifies someone.  And upon their release, prisoners often become ineligible for public housing and are denied welfare.  So getting a job and trying to find a legitimate way to support themselves is far from easy for ex-cons, more often then not they feel forced to go back to a life of crime to support themselves and any family they might have.

Unemployment rates as high as fifty-percent are frequently cited by those who have researched and followed the lives of former prisoners. One recent study put the unemployment rate at 60% in the first year after release, and another survey found that two-thirds of the employers surveyed in five large cities would never hire an ex-con.37

Having to state that you’ve been incarcerated on your job application means that any jobs beyond the most menial and low-paying will likely remain out-of-reach.  And in today’s turbulent economic times, when even those with advanced college degrees have trouble finding any kind of paid work, the prospect for an ex-con is even more grim.

Due to the incredibly high concentration of blacks in the American prison population, the hope-numbing impact of being held in prison and then being hard-pressed to find employment afterward enforces “the stigma of race [that] remains the unmeltable condition of the black social and economic situation.”38

Racism is generally understood in America to have fallen to an all-time low.

But this is an illusion, created because our prisons and the hundreds of thousands of black men inside of them are built at sites unseen.

A “subtler and more covert” racism has been enabled as prison populations artificially bend racially specific underemployment rates as “mass incarceration makes it easier for the majority culture to continue to ignore the urban ghettos that live on beneath official rhetoric.”39

The Civil Rights movement was marked by dozens and dozens of indelible images of racism that were carried in the media each day – black children being marched past an angry white mob into a newly segregated school, police dogs being sicced on peaceful black protesters, burnt-out remains of bombed black churches, one black man behind a pulpit preaching of Christian love and patience and another black man punctuating with his fist the need for angry black action, crowds full of college students both black and white being sprayed at times by firehoses and other times by bullets.

We’ve all seen the living, breathing, killing reality of racism in the 1970s. None of us now are able to see its existence now, because racism no longer lives on the front pages of our newspapers and during our evening news – instead it’s been suffocated inside poured concrete walls which rise and fall in invisible existence, locked safely out of sight.

Until from the barrel of a terrorist’s gun poured a breathe that brought it back to life for all of us.

Category: current affairs 14 comments »

14 Responses to “when Justice lies”

  1. Jay

    This article is very informative! It’s pretty heady, though, and that’s what’s getting me. The need for prison and drug law reform is so obvious, but I am not seeing an organization stepping up to the plate to make it happen. I’ve been looking for a succinct and well-put-together website aimed at achieving reform of prison and drug laws. http://www.leap.cc is good, but it’s not very well-formed as a marketing tool. I’m looking for an organization that’s slick, intelligent, and persuasive on this topic. Does it exist?

  2. TrembleTheDevil

    Before I respond individually, I think I need to make something clear: the chart is not mine, the chart is from the DoJ. All of the numbers inside of it are the DoJ’s calculations, not my own.
    What covers most of these comments that in 1999, using only three categories (White, Black, Hispanic), all but 1.5% of the American population was accounted for. In 2005, using the same three categories, a much bigger number, 6.5% is now missing.
    That is not due to a 5% influx of another race or races, it’s due to the change in how the DoJ counted mixed-race people for these reports, which began in 2004. Tried to make that clear, guess I didn’t.
    5% is huge here, given how the 21% cited by every major media outlet was calculated.
    I think that about covers it. Oh yeah, to Dr. Mike – I’m white.

  3. Joe

    It seems the rallying cry is always the same. As a school teacher the gap in education is immense. The uneducated tend toward crime, those from broken homes tend toward crime. While there is no doubt institutional racism, to throw that out as a blanket explanation for the problem is wrong. As those such as Charles Barkely, Bill Cosby, and Barack Oboma have stated some of the responsibility must lie with the population itself. 71% of minorities are from single parent homes compared to 51% for whites. If there is a 20% gap in the number, and children from broken homes tend towards crime and poverty, why then would there not be a difference in prison rates?

  4. TrembleTheDevil

    Joe you’re right on all accounts, I’m not trying to pin the blame on either the institutions or the African-American community. The blame seems shared to me, and balancing out which sides deserves exactly how much is well beyond me.
    When a child grows up fatherless because Dad is in jail (or just booked before his son was born since HIS Dad had been in jail and was never around), and that child starts acting out in school surrounded by overworked, underpaid, and often jaded teachers, and then goes home to a Mom trying to balance two jobs to keep food on the table whose father also might never have been around – it takes more a miracle than a village to raise him.
    What I’m trying to point out in the article is covered in the second half, about the history of the Drug War. It wasn’t about Vietnam Vets being hooked on opium – drug laws in America have always been rooted in race and class control.
    And our prison population didn’t start to skyrocket in the 80’s, but instead as the chart shows in the 1970’s just as the Civil Rights movement faltered. An incredibly disproportionate number of African-Americans began being thrown into prison, creating a cycle we’re still dealing with today.
    We’re never going to be able to even begin to fix the problem until we see it for what it really is.

  5. Kent, CA

    All that text could be condensed to “I don’t understand math”.

  6. rob rsmith

    you either dont understand what they said or are intentially misrepresenting what they said. they said the number of black inmates decreased 21.6%. they didnt say anything about their percentage of total inmates or ratio of black to white inmates. look at the absolute numbers. 2005 black inmates down 21.6% (get your calculator out and do the math 113,500 is 21.6% lower than 144,500.

  7. Matt

    We could reform drug laws… or african americans could stop glorifying violence and drug abuse, then blaming “the white man” for most of their problems. Anyone’s guess as to which of those will occur first.

  8. Brett Stevens

    “with blacks accounting for less than 15% of all drug users”

  9. Michael

    I don’t think that the laws are necessarily racist is the races in jail stem from the origin of wealth. Statistically speaking whites have a higher average standard of living than either blacks or hispanics. Studies have also shown that as wealth decreases, stress, crime, and ultimately drug use increase. And as wealth decreases so does the quality of drug but the quantity increases due to being cut so often it’d make an emo kid look healthy. It’s like find a mcdonalds on every street corner in lower middle class america but as you go up the neighborhood scale there are fewer micky d’s and more starbucks. What’s more is that it isn’t necessarily racism when we’re talking about the disparity of the socioeconomic classes. it’s just the way things are. Certainly no one deserves to live below the poverty line and certainly those who succeed should not be punished for their success, but we are only ever human.

  10. The Cenobyte

    I could go off on you about Math but it looks like everyone has already pointed that out to you. BTW, the DOJ has numbers on the makeup of the total prison population to look at and when you add in Asians, Indians, Arabs and the like you do get 100%.
    What I wanted to say is that you are missing the point. It’s not the inforcment of the drug laws that’s an issue, it’s that we have laws for victomless crimes. The only person dirrectly hurt by drug use is yourself (Dirrect damages is the only reasonable way to look for responcibility in a law banning someones personal freedoms). If we dropped the silly drug laws there would be 253,000 people out of jail and the cops could go after real crime.

  11. Dumpus

    you left out the percent of each minority in the general population compared to the percent incarcerated

  12. John S. James

    “I’m looking for an organization that’s slick, intelligent, and persuasive on this topic. Does it exist?”
    Jay, check out Drug Policy Alliance Network,

  13. Jesusa Harvath

    maintain at it man, your almost there , thanks for the read!

  14. betathomebonus

    tremblethedevil.com is bookmarked for future reference!

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