Friday, March 20, 2009

Stat of the Day

Each day (hopefully), I'll bring in a new statistic that is in one way or another related to issues of race. For our innagural "stat of the day," we'll start with the criminal injustice system, where blacks and latinos are overrepresented.

Blacks constitute 13 percent of all drug users, but 35 percent of those arrested for drug possession, 55 percent of persons convicted, and 74 percent of people sent to prison.
Sources: Drug Policy Alliance Network / Human Rights Watch Report: Punishment and Prejudice: Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System, May 2000 Vol. 12, No. 2 (G).


Denis Navratil said...

Kevin, the relevant comparison would be the percentage of drug dealers to arrests for drug possession rather than drug users to possession arrests. Law enforcement tends to focus on the dealers more than the users. Of course we can debate whether that is the correct or fair course of action.

Kevin Lockett said...

You are right, and I will look up those numbers for a future edition of "Stat of the Day."

However, if blacks make up 13% of drug users, then it's possible but highly unlikely that they make up 35% of those who posses drugs. This is what I wanted to emphasize by choosing this stat. I also wanted to point out how, at each stage in the criminal process, blacks become more overrepresented.

Finally, the fact that blacks make up 13% of drug users corresponds to their proportion of the overall population.