But the facts are overwhelming. There's no real debate about that. Saying the US criminal system is racist may be politically controversial in some circles. No real debate about that.
Race, Crime, and Punishment Just as conscious and unconscious racial notions helped define the drug problem, they have also helped shape political and policy responses to that problem. The legislative history of federal crack sentencing laws, for example, provides reason "to suspect that regardless of the objectives Congress was pursuing, it would have shown more restraint in fashioning the crack penalties or more interest in amending them in ensuing years, if the penalties did not apply almost exclusively to blacks.
Politicians have been able to reap the electoral rewards of endorsing harsh drug policies because the group that suffered most from those policies-black Americans-lacked the numbers to use the political process to secure a different strategy.
It could have restricted prison to only the most serious drug offenders e. Instead, federal and state governments embraced harsh penal sanctions to battle the use of drugs and their sale to consumers.
But the choice of arrest and imprisonment as the primary anti-drug strategy evokes the infamous phrase from the Vietnam War: A Human Rights Framework For the War on Drugs In a fair, equitable, and non-discriminatory criminal justice system, sanctions should be imposed equally on offending populations.
Yet the racial patterns of persons arrested and incarcerated on drug charges are distantly related, at best, to racial patterns of drug offending. There may be explanations for the disparate impact, but can it be reconciled with principles of equal protection and non-discrimination?
United States Law Drug laws are race-neutral on their face. Their enforcement is also ostensibly race-neutral, with law enforcement officials insisting they enforce the law without bias and in response to community concerns.
Under longstanding constitutional jurisprudence in the United States, facially race-neutral governmental policies do not violate the guarantee of equal protection unless there is both discriminatory impact and discriminatory purpose. As Professor Lawrence Tribe has noted, the U. Supreme Court has decided that every lawsuit involving claims of racial discrimination directed at facially race-neutral rules would be conducted as a search for a "bigoted-decision-maker".
If such actors cannot be found-and the standards for finding them are tough indeed-then there has been no violation of the equal protection clause. Harsher sentences for crack cocaine offenses compared to powder have repeatedly passed that test, with the courts easily deciding that legislators were pursuing a legitimate goal in trying to curtail drug abuse and that more severe sentences for crack were rationally related to that goal.
As law professor David Cole has observed, racial inequalities in the criminal justice system "do not step from explicit and intentional race or class discrimination, but they are problems of inequality nonetheless.
It offers no relief from high rates of black incarceration that have been produced by "racial politics, not by a crime wave,"  and that reflect as well as contribute to the perpetuation of white dominance.
Tied to the anachronistic requirement of intent, equal protection jurisprudence has not been able to provide relief to victims of ostensibly color-blind practices that so deeply prejudice black Americans.
It has thus failed to achieve one of its central purposes: Racial Discrimination Under International Human Rights Law Equality among all people, including among persons of different races, has been deemed "the most important principle imbuing and inspiring the concept of human rights.
The equality inherent in all human beings regardless of race and the concomitant right of all human beings to be protected against racial discrimination is affirmed in the core human rights treaties that have followed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination is the most complete expression of the international community's commitment to the principle of racial equality and the right to be free of racial discrimination. Although the Committee "merely observes and comments on States Parties' practices, the comments should be acted on accordingly.
The Committee's country-specific observations and general comments may be considered the official "jurisprudence" of ICERD. The Committee does not have any power to compel a State to accept and act on its recommendations and there is no system of sanctions for States who refuse to do so. The Committee has reviewed two United States periodic reports,  but has never directly addressed racial discrimination in the U.
It defines the prohibited discrimination as: The Committee has explained that "the definition of racial discrimination in Article 1 expressly extends beyond measures which are explicitly discriminatory to encompass measures which are discriminatory in fact and effect.
Compliance with ICERD requires ensuring that domestic legislation prohibits all forms of racial discrimination as defined by the treaty.
Inthe Committee recommended that the United States take the appropriate measures to review legislation and policies to "ensure effective protections against any form of racial discrimination and any unjustifiably disparate impact. The Committee noted that the definition of racial discrimination used in [U.
In this regard, the Committee notes that indirect-or de facto-discrimination occurs where an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice would put persons of a particular racial, ethnic or national origin at a disadvantage compared with other persons, unless that provision, criterion or practice is objectively justified by a legitimate aim and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary.
Under ICERD, an adverse racially disparate impact becomes prohibited discrimination when the impact is unjustifiable. The Committee has explained that differential treatment of racial groups "would constitute discrimination if the criteria for such differentiation, judged in the light of the objectives and purposes of the Convention, are not applied pursuant to a legitimate aim, and are not proportional to the achievement of that aim.
It requires an examination of whether the non-discrimination and equality guaranteed by law are actually enjoyed in practice. The Committee has recognized that race discrimination infects criminal justice systems around the world.
Because of its recognition of the racialized role of criminal systems, the Committee considers "the number and percentage of persons belonging to [racial and other such groups] who are held in prison" to be significant indicators of racial discrimination in a criminal justice system.
In it recommended that the United States ensure that the high incarceration rate of these minorities was not a result of the "economically, socially and educationally disadvantaged position of these groups.
Looking narrowly at the problem of racially disparate incarceration rates, it insisted that the disparity reflected "differential involvement in crime by the various groups. It also ignored whether the disparities in drug law enforcement might be the result of racial discrimination as broadly defined by ICERD and interpreted by the Committee.
The Committee was not reassured. In it reiterated its concern with regard to the persistent racial disparities in the U. Racial profiling did not go unnoticed: It is hard to conceive of a plausible justification.Research and analysis Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic disproportionality in the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales.
Slideshow leslutinsduphoenix.com for more detail on the War on Drugs. Offense categories don’t tell the whole story. The criminal justice system involves some complicated decisions and relationships, some — but not all — of which can be represented graphically.
The president has continued to claim voter fraud was a problem in the election. But a look at the facts makes clear fraud is vanishingly rare, and does not happen on a scale even close to that necessary to “rig” an election. «Notable crime fighting comments by Deputy AG Rosenstein in Chicago | Main | New ACLU poll suggests significant interest in criminal justice reform».
November 17, "The Criminal Justice System Stalks Black People Like Meek Mill". An independent review into the treatment of, and outcomes for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the criminal justice system.
«Notable crime fighting comments by Deputy AG Rosenstein in Chicago | Main | New ACLU poll suggests significant interest in criminal justice reform». November 17, "The Criminal Justice System Stalks Black People Like Meek Mill".