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Racial divide narrowing in criminal justice system

Racial disparities still exist in the criminal justice system, but they are getting better according to reports from the Public Policy Institute of California and other nonpartisan groups. Researchers have found that the racial gaps between white people and minorities have narrowed across many areas of criminal justice including incarceration, parole and probation rates.

A spokesperson for the Council on Criminal Justice said that racial disparities in criminal justice are a problem that is getting a little better, but researchers still don't understand exactly why. In 2000, black people were incarcerated in state prisons for drug crimes at 15 times the rate of white people. Sixteen years later, that figure dropped to five times as likely. There was also a 30% decline in black male imprisonment over the same time period. Researchers have found similar changes in the disparities between Latino and white incarceration rates.

According to researchers, the waning of the crack cocaine epidemic in the 1990s and the more recent legalization of marijuana do not explain the narrowing of racial disparities. The Council on Criminal Justice said that the timeline of the study points instead towards a change in drug enforcement patterns. There has also been a significant decline in crime rates coupled with reduced sentencing across the country. The racial disparity that still exists in criminal justice is thought to be influenced by racial bias, economic factors and a police concentration on minority neighborhoods.

A criminal defense attorney may help a person who has experienced discrimination in the criminal justice system. An attorney may be able to look into an individual's criminal case to determine whether law enforcement officers committed any legal infractions during their investigation. If evidence was obtained illegally through unwarranted searches, the evidence might not be admissible in court.

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Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz
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