Arrest among the Africa American in the United States is almost eight times that of the European Americans, the Indians and Hispanics are imprisoned about three times that of the European Americans. Most of the arrests are not justified, but are as a result of policies implemented in the mid 1970s.
The arrests have grown significantly due incarceration for lesser offenses and drug related offenses which, in actual sense makes the situation even worse, by making it hard for the young offenders to miss a chance of being rehabilitated, became productive through finding a good and well paying job. The children of those arrested, suffer a lot, they miss some basic necessities and good education which in most cases leads them to a life of crime, hence being arrested and the cycle keeps on recurring generation after the other.
In most of the minor offenses racial disparity is more pronounced with the African-American being more arrested and charged compared to the Americans, but for the serious offenses disparity is greatly reduced.
Drugs have been the leading cause of arrest in America, with most of the users being the blacks. The war on drugs has seen most of the Urban black Americans arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned, this is because of they form a large proportion of drug abusers in America than the whites.
Drug related offenses have no comparison with other offenses such as murder, rape, and robbery, the drug law is less offense driven but vary from one state to the other. The level of arrest is thus left to the local decision making organs and this influences the degree of enforcement and promotes disparities in the arrests.
Racial profiling has contributed to disparities in arrests for similar offenses committed by different racial groups, particularly in war against the use of drugs. Racial disparity has caused magnified arrests and incarceration of individuals arrested without the much required behavior change.
Racism among the blacks Americans and white Americans has contributed greatly to arrest, this is evident on the highways where by any black driving along the roads goes through frequent checkups because the blacks are perceived to be drug traffickers even when innocent. Denial to comply results to arrest that cannot be justified in the courts. The systems need drastic changes so as to eliminate these biases.
Racial discrimination according to race and ethnicity in the United States criminal justice system in the black community has caused many black lots of problems since they cannot easily access justice after being arrested.
In conclusion, disparities should be reduced as a way of improving the levels of justice. The reduced disparities will create room to help minors who can establish productive lives thereafter. In my opinion, racial disparities in arrest in the United States creates a serious problem within the society because those arrested are more likely to engage in criminal activities after serving their jail term due to frustrations and other related social injustices they have experienced. The legal system and law enforcers should treat all offenders equally without discrimination and the issue of racial disparities in arrest will be solved for ever.
- M. Tonry. Malign Neglect: Race, Crime, and Punishment in America, Oxford University Press, USA, 1996.