Blacks Comprise 13% of the Population, 14% of Monthly Drug Users, But Account for 37% of Drug Arrests

The Center for Constitutional Rights,

Finds Discrepancies

in the Criminal Justice System

Getting Arrested:

  • Although blacks comprise 13% of the population, and 14% of monthly drug users, they account for 37% of drug arrests.
  • Black and Latino motorists are more likely to be stopped and frisked by the police compared to whites.
  • Blacks are arrested for drug offenses at rates 2 to 11 times higher than the rates for whites.
  • Blacks are more likely to be detained while awaiting felony trials.
  • Blacks are more likely to be represented by a public defender, with high caseloads and limited resources.

Standing Trial:

  • African Americans are routinely excluded from criminal jury service.
  • As is true of most defendants, most African-Americans never get a trial, and have to make a choice about accepting a plea or risking a possible lengthy sentence.


  • The U.S. Sentencing Commission reported that black offenders receive longer sentences than white offenders.
  • Two-thirds of people in the U.S. with life sentences are non-white.
  •  African-Americans account for 56% of people in state prison for drug offenses.
  •  The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics concluded that a black male born in 2001 has a 32% chance of going to jail; Latino males have a 17% chance and white males have a 6% chance.
The Prison Population
  • Despite black youth accounting for 16% of the juvenile youth population, they are 28% of juvenile arrests, 37% of youth in jails, and 58% of youth sent to adult prisons.
  • The U.S. leads the world in incarceration and black males comprise the largest share of American prisoners.
  • Research shows that 17% of white job applicants with a criminal record received call backs from employers, compared to 5% of black job applicants.

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