Article Review: “Crime, Bias and Statistics”

Article Review: “Crime, Bias and Statistics”

Racial disparities in the criminal sector have been especially critical after 1980. This was caused by the change in the patterns of crime as well as the political development and enhancement of the regulations in relation to drugs. An analysis on the population of prisoners in the state as well as federal prisons from 1960 to 1991 shows that the percentage of whites has been decreasing while that of blacks and others has been on the rise (Tonry, 1998). As of 1980, the percent of blacks in prison has been increasing sharply and significantly.

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The drug control policies initiated in 1980 are a major factor leading to the worsening of racial disparities in prison. Thus, 22 % of the new admissions and 25 % of the population present in the federal prisons in 1980 were drug offenders (Tonry, 1998). As of 1992, 58% of the prisoners present in the federal prisons were drug offenders. The new assumption developed after the introduction of the new laws was that blacks were more likely possible to sell drugs although there was no survey on drugs to prove this (Tonry, 1998). The arrests on drugs are easily made in socially disorganized cities than in the working or the middle-class areas because drug sales in the disorganized areas are likely to be done outdoors unlike in the middle-class areas, where they take place indoors. The punishment for the drug use by blacks and Hispanics is more severe than that for the middle-class whites. Additionally, most intra-racial crimes concern blacks, and they are easily arrested as compared to whites (Tonry, 1998).

The intersection between the racial biases and statistics is overlooked, according to Charles Blow in his article “Crime, Bias, and Statistics” published in The New York Times. According to Blow (2014), the discussion about the relationship between blacks and the criminal justice system seizes over time, and he claims that people slink down to their cocoons, arming themselves with rhetorical weapons of statistics on one side, where blacks are over presented, and with racial bias on the other side. The association of blacks with crime changes the ways they are perceived. Blow (2014) highlights a report by Sentencing Project that has showed an existing structure that has a bias in its mode of interconnection, culminating in being disproportionately biased towards African-Americans. Blow (2014) expresses how powerful such a conclusion is to the publishers. Thus, he mentions the book Suspicion Nation and its author Lisa Bloom who highlights that while whites may and do commit minor and major crimes, the race is not tainted by such acts, but when blacks commit a crime, all members of the race are taken as suspects (Blow, 2014). He reports the standard perception that when people think of crime, they see black (Blow, 2014).

Blow (2014) advances his argument by saying that the increase in ratio perceptions and punitive policies leads to increased severity of the sentencing for the Americans. Blow (2014) also agrees with the report by Sentencing Project that over 58 % of prisoners in the US are blacks and Latinos. The increase in the biases on the crime policies towards the people of color happens to increase crime in that it concentrates criminal labeling towards the racial minorities, thus fostering the whites with a sense of legal immunity (Blow, 2014).

The statistics in the above analysis are an indication that there is an existing racial bias in the legal systems. More specifically, blacks and Latinos happen to be tainted as the criminals and consequently, harshness, which is evidently disproportional, is exerted upon them.

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