Civil Rights

Data, statistics and information regarding civil and human rights, particularly in the context of drug control policies and the criminal justice system

Civil Rights - 3-22-10

"... blacks are just 12 percent of the population and 13 percent of the drug users, and despite the fact that traffic stops and similar enforcement yield equal arrest rates for minorities and whites alike, blacks are 38 percent of those arrested for drug offenses and 59 percent of those convicted of drug offenses. Moreover, more frequent stops, and therefore arrests, of minorities will also result in longer average prison terms for minorities because patterns of disproportionate arrests generate more extensive criminal histories for minorities, which in turn influence sentencing outcomes."

Racial Data Collection at Traffic Stops

(Racial Data Collection at Traffic Stops) "As of March 2001, 16 of the 49 State police agencies with patrol duties required officers to collect the race or ethnicity of all drivers involved in a traffic stop (table 1). Thirty-seven State agencies collected the race or ethnicity of motorists when an arrest was made, and 22 agencies did so following a vehicle or occupant search.

Racial Bias in Traffic Stops

(Racial Bias in Traffic Stops) "Under a federal court consent decree, traffic stops by the Maryland State Police on Interstate 95 were monitored. In the two year period from January 1995 to December 1997, 70 percent of the drivers stopped and searched by the police were black, while only 17.5 percent of overall drivers – as well as overall speeders – were black."

Felony Disenfranchisement in the US in 1996

(Felony Disenfranchisement in the US in 1996) "Thirteen percent of all adult black men -- 1.4 million -- are disenfranchised, representing one-third of the total disenfranchised population and reflecting a rate of disenfranchisement that is seven times the national average. Election voting statistics offer an approximation of the political importance of black disenfranchisement: 1.4 million black men are disenfranchised compared to 4.6 million black men who voted in 1996."

Felony Disenfranchisement in the US, 1994-2004

(Felony Disenfranchisement in the US, 1994-2004)
"• Since 1997, 16 states have implemented reforms to their felony disenfranchisement policies
"• These reforms have resulted in the restoration of voting rights to an estimated 621,400 persons
"• By 2004, the total number of people disenfranchised due to a felony conviction had risen to 5.3 million
"• Among those disenfranchised, 74% are currently living in the community

Impact of Racial Disparities

(Impact of Racial Disparities) At the start of the 1990s, the U.S. had more Black men (between the ages of 20 and 29) under the control of the nation's criminal justice system than the total number in college. This and other factors have led some scholars to conclude that, "crime control policies are a major contributor to the disruption of the family, the prevalence of single parent families, and children raised without a father in the ghetto, and the 'inability of people to get the jobs still available.'"