Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Decline in blacks in prison for drug crimes reverses 25-year trend

"For the first time in a quarter century, the number of African-Americans incarcerated for drug offenses in state prisons has declined more than 20 percent while the number of white imprisoned drug offenders has increased more than 40 percent."

"The decline took place over a six year period from 1999 to 2005 and reflects fundamental changes in the so-called "war on drugs" – how it's targeted and prosecuted – as well as the waning of the crack epidemic in predominantly minority urban areas and the increase in methamphetamine abuse in largely white rural neighborhoods. "

"According to the study, the number of blacks in state prisons on drug-related charges dropped from 144,700 in 1991 to 113,500 in 2005. The number of white drug-offenders in prison increased during the same time from 50,700 to 72,300."

"The majority of incarcerated drug offenders have been African-American – despite the fact that drug abuse rates are fairly equal across ethnic and racial lines – and that fed a widespread perception that law enforcement efforts were racially biased."

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