Black Males and the Injustice of the Penal System

2450 words 10 pages
The Injustice of African American men in the Penal System

In 1954, at the time of the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision, African Americans constituted about 30% of persons admitted to state and federal prisons. That figure should have been disturbing since it was substantially higher than the black share of the national population. But that proportion has now increased; still more dramatically, to the point where blacks represent half of all prison admissions. This development would seem to be rather odd considering the changes that have taken place in American society over the past half-century. (Mauer & Huling, 1995) According to 2005 Census Bureau statistics, the male African-American population
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Often, the justification offered for these actions is that they are necessary for the purpose of apprehending alleged drug traffickers, with the aid of drug courier profiles. (Harris, 1997) In Volusia County in central Florida, researchers documenting traffic stops made by local police in the late 1980s found that more than 70% of the drivers stopped were ether African American or Hispanic. This compared to data showing blacks constituted 12% of the state’s driving age population and 15% of drivers convicted of traffic violations. Blacks and Hispanics were also stopped for longer periods than whites, and represented 80% of the cars that were searched following a stop. These types of discretionary law enforcement practices may lead to African Americans acquiring a criminal record more rapidly than whites, later resulting in a greater chance of receiving a prison sentence. (Blumstein, 1993)
Seven out of every 10 African-American children are born out of wedlock, according to testimony given by a leading policy researcher during a Joint Economic Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. ( Gale, 2007) In what is being called the “nation’s worst crisis in the history of the Black family,” hearing participants attributed the


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