Drug Sentencing Disparities

  • About 14 million Whites and 2.6 million African Americans report using an illicit drug
  • 5 times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites
  • African Americans represent 12% of the total population of drug users, but 38% of those arrested for drug offenses, and 59% of those in state prison for a drug offense.
  • African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months). (Source: Sentencing Project, )

Limiting life options, rising high school dropout rates and declining enrollment in post secondary education – along with increased incarceration rates, can be attributed to these policies. With the potential for even more opportunities to be arrested, communities of color are in peril.

We must act – together – for lasting improvements in our community. We must also keep ourselves and our children educated on what goes on in society.

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