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The Mechanics
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Race Mon Aug 10 2009

In Bush Era, Incarceration of Blacks for Drug Offenses Decreases Nationally

From the Chicago Reporter's Sarah Bloom:

An April study by the Washington, D.C.-based Sentencing Project found that the number of African Americans incarcerated for drug offenses dropped 21.6 percent nationwide from 1999 to 2005, while the number of white drug offenders increased by 42.6 percent during the same period.

Of course, the study is an evaluation state incarceration rates, not federal rates. And while the rate of incarceration federally increased for blacks, it tracked similarly for whites and Latinos, no change there. Nor did drug use rates change--generally. But they did drop for crack-cocaine a drug that, unlike marijuana, will nearly always result in arrest if you're caught possessing it. The drop in incarceration reflected to a significant degree drops in arrest rates and convictions for blacks caught up in drug offenses.

The study also tries to find a reason for the huge upsurge in incarceration of whites for drug offenses:

First, we have seen over time that drug offense arrest rates are largely a function of law enforcement practices, rather than absolute levels of drug use or selling.

This is interesting. What institutions nationally help determine the practices of local law enforcement agencies?

 
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Dennis FRitz / August 10, 2009 5:48 PM

Hmmm. If I am reading Bloom's article correctly, she seems to be say that although the black/white disparity has declined in recent years, it still exists and remains large. Anyway, she offers a theory for why more whites are getting busted these days: methamphetamines. The uptick in meth use has disproportionately been seen in predominantly white rural areas.

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Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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