Friday, October 30, 2009

Trick or Treat: Scary Criminal Justice Statistics

From on of the various fact sheets on the website of Families Against Mandatory Minimums:

Race and mandatory sentences

Prison populations

•One in 20 African American men over the age of 18 is in state or federal prison, compared to one in 180 white men.

•Two-thirds of the 2 million Americans in jail or prison are African American or Hispanic.

•In 2001 the lifetime chances of going to prison were highest among black males (32.2 percent) and Hispanic males (17.2 percent) and lowest among white males (5.9 percent).

•At the end of 2003, black prisoners made up an estimated 44 percent of all federal and state prisoners with sentences of more than one year. White prisoners accounted for 35 percent, and Hispanic prisoners 19 percent. (Prisoners in 2003, Bureau of Justice Statistics)

Drug offenses

•African Americans make up approximately 12 percent of the population and are 13 percent of the drug users, yet they constitute 38 percent of all drug arrests and 59 percent of those convicted of drug offenses.

•Nationwide African American males sentenced in state courts on drug felonies receive prison sentences 52 percent of the time, while white males are sentenced to prison 34 percent of the time.

•In 10 states African American men are sent to state prison on drug charges at rates that are 27 to 57 times greater than those of white men in the same state.

•When sentenced for drug offenses in state courts, whites serve an average of 27 months and blacks an average of 46 months.

•African Americans are 59 percent of those convicted of drug offenses but, since they are less likely to strike a favorable plea bargain with prosecutors, are 74 percent of those sentenced to prison for a drug offense.

Enjoy the candy.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit

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