The Number of Black Drug Offenders in Prison on The Decline

Interesting and somewhat surprising numbers from the Sentencing Project today, as reported by the Washington Post. The number of blacks incarcerated for drug offenses has decline rather sharply by over 30,000 between 1999 and 2005. The number of whites incarcerated for drug offenses has actually increased by over 20,000. However, the white increase is twice as significant, in terms of percentage, as the black decrease. The reason the numbers are from a few years ago is that 2005 was the last time the Federal Bureau of Prisons produced prison populations numbers broken down by race.

The Sentencing Project hypothesizes two reasons for the changes. One, an increase in use of alternative sentences such as drug courts. Two, an increased focus on Meth, a drug disproportionately used by whites. Nonetheless, the numbers seem to indicate that drug courts are working and hopefully this will result in an even greater increase in their use and further shift away from locking addicts away for a few years only to release them untreated back into the population to continue their cycle.

1 comment:

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