Authors

Open Buffalo

Publication Date

11-2013

Category

Data/Demographics/History

Abstract

This study on the disproportionate number of African-American and Hispanic people in the Erie County criminal justice system reveals four findings for further analysis. Representation of the African-American and Hispanic populations is disproportionately high in each stage of the criminal justice process, from arrest through sentencing. The disparities grow worse at each stage of the process. Violent felonies and drug felonies yield the greatest racial disparities. The higher poverty levels of African-Americans and Hispanics do not fully explain the disparities. Research suggests that residential segregation, implicit racial biases, and the disparate impact of various laws, policies, and practices, particularly those associated with the “War on Drugs,” play a role, especially for African-Americans. There are many feasible ways to change laws, policies and practices to reduce racial disparities.

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