Black, White and Latino Race to Prison.
The incarceration rate in the United States is the highest among the wealthy nations. It is very compelling to know that the United States is 5% of world population and has 25% of the world prisoners. Two million and three hundred thousand people are in jail, and 730 out of 100,000 persons and nearly one million of total 2.3 million are African Americans. They are incarcerated nearly six times than the Whites. African Americans and Hispanics consists 58% of all prisoners in 2008. What is causing these racial disparities in incarceration? Is it because of the higher than average crime rate among Black Americans and Latinos or the presence of deliberate racism in the judicial system? This article will analyze and study the causes, the reasons, the statistic and facts that contribute to the racial disparity in incarceration rate in our country.
Environmental Factors of Crime
Most studies have shown that most crime is caused by social and economic environment; this leads to Robert Merton’s strain theory which states that the effects of an individual’s position in society and the constraints that the person’s status puts on his or her perceptions and behavior. The theory tries to explain why poorer people commit crime than wealthy people. According to Merton, crime is not a function of deprivation but the result of the lack of connection between goals and the means to achieve it. People aspire for a better life but was denied the means to achieve it and ending up not realizing it. They were subjected to strain and it depends on the person which path he chooses. Many of them choose to criminal activities such as robbery, selling drugs, and/or prostitution to obtain money because legitimate ways on having it were not available to them.
Crime is prevalent in poor communities because they lack resources in order to have the necessities in life or they are wanting more than what they can have or afford and ends up getting it by unlawful means. Many of Black and Hispanics live in a poor community because many of them can’t afford the rental or house prices in a wealthy community. Government housings houses mostly poor people and the community around it ends up being dwelled by people belonging to the same socio-economic status. A study done by the researchers of Ohio State University showed that the crime rates are higher in an “extremely disadvantage” neighborhood regardless of the race, but there are also studies that shows that the crime rate is higher in area where majority of the people are Black and Hispanics. So why is there a racial disparity between the incarceration rates? Environmental factors definitely have a correlation with the crime rates but the racial disparity in incarceration rates shows that there is more to it.
“Shopping, Driving and Using Drugs While Black”
Disparity in the incarceration rate starts with police activity. In New York City, where half of the population is black, 80% of New York Police Department (NYPD) stops were Black and Latinos. According to NYPD’s report, when Whites are being stopped but only 8% are being frisked while 88% of Black and Latinos were frisked. Black men are more likely to be stopped by policemen while driving than White men, thus the term “driving while black,” was coined by minorities. It is known as “racial profiling” where they pulled motorist because they are black or brown. African American motorists were being stopped and searched by the policemen 2.5 more times than Whites and Hispanics are more than double the rate. They are being pulled over because of the model of their car and will be asked for their identities for no reason at all. Another incident is where a young black man was detained after buying a Ferragamo belt costing $350. Police stated that he must have bought it fraudulently because he cannot afford it. This had happened many times and still