Wednesday, December 5, 2007

If You're Going to San Francisco

Just say no. In the immortal words of Nancy Reagan (who has always looked to me like someone whose chihuahua-like high-strungness was fueled by diet pills).

This, seen at Negrophile, is news that should be on the front page every day until the injustices are addressed. This is the news about America's War on Black People:

San Francisco imprisons African Americans for drug offenses at a much higher rate than whites, according to a report to be released today by a nonprofit research institute.

In a study of nearly 200 counties nationwide, the Justice Policy Institute found that 97 percent of large-population counties have racial disparities between the number of black people and white people sent to prison on drug convictions.

And here is where all those morons say, "Those Black people. If only they'd get off the crackwagon." Well, no, not really:
The institute, which is based in Washington, D.C., and researches public policy and promotes alternatives to incarceration, says whites and African Americans use illicit drugs at similar rates. But black people account for more than 50 percent of sentenced drug offenders, though they make up only 13 percent of the nation's population.
(I've seen conflicting reports on this. Some sources report that whites are three to five times more likely to use drugs than Blacks.)

So Blacks and whites account for about equal numbers of drug users. But Blacks get sentenced disproportionately. Well, that's not really news. Disproportionate sentencing, blah blah blah. Ah, but how disproportionate, you ask?
San Francisco locks up a higher percentage of members of the African American community in drug cases than any other county in the study. In the county, 123 people out of every 100,000 are sent to state prison each year for drug offenses. Of those, whites are incarcerated at a rate of 35 per 100,000 white people, while blacks are incarcerated at a rate of 1,013 per 100,000 black people.
What is the lesson here? There are many, the most obvious being that it's OK to use drugs in SF if you are white, but stay straight if you are Black:
"It is not that San Francisco is sending a lot of people to prison for drug offenses, it is that the people they are sending are black," said Jason Ziedenberg, executive director of the institute. "An average citizen who uses drugs in San Francisco has a pretty low chance of going to prison, but if you are African American, the chances are fairly high."
(By the way, this also an issue across the Big Water:

Figures showed that of those arrested [for possession of cannabis], 40% were African and Caribbean, 28% were white Europeans and 13% Indian and Pakistani. Of those who were later charged, 18.5% were African or Caribbean and 14% were White Europeans. Nineteen per cent of white Europeans were given a caution, rather than being taken to court, compared with 14% of people from African or Caribbean communities.)
P.S. Whites are more than twice as likely to receive treatment for drug use than Blacks (59.3% versus 22.1%).

No comments: