Fifty years after the Kerner Commission set in motion a national effort to fix racial inequities in the justice system, a draft strategic plan crafted by the Attorney General threatens to reopen all our old wounds—and perhaps create new ones, say two reform advocates.
Black students, boys, and students with disabilities are disproportionately disciplined in K-12 schools across the U.S., says a new report from the Government Accountability Office. Some 15.5 percent of public school students are black but they make up 39 percent of those suspended.
One reason Louisiana leads the nation in sentences of life without parole is that it allows 10 of 12 jurors to agree on a conviction. If two blacks make it onto a jury, their votes don’t matter, The Advocate reports.
Experts hope that the reform will address rampant racial disparities in sentencing that were reported by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Records kept by court clerks, state attorneys, public defenders, jail operators and law enforcement will be centralized, and the results will be published through a new database updated weekly.
Gov. Philip Murphy favors legalization, but Sen. Ronald Rice, a fellow Democrat, opposes it. Rice believes that legal pot would proliferate in black communities and would produce a new generation of drug abusers.
A forthcoming paper from NYU Law School’s Immigrant Rights Clinic claims modern US immigration policy is a legacy of the “racial animus” that has affected our immigration and criminal justice systems since the nation’s founding.
Although African Americans are still “over-represented” in jails—they are 3.6 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites—a doubling of the jailed white population, particularly in rural and small metro countries, significantly reduced the racial gap in US jails between 1990 and 2013, according to the Vera Institute of Justice.
Minority victims of sexual assault by law enforcement have often been ignored by reformers seeking to improve police-community relations, says attorney Andrea Ritchie. In a conversation with TCR, Ritchie, who assembled a database of 300 such cases, including transgendered, lesbian and gay victims, argues the issue should also be part of the nationwide focus on combating sexual harassment.