African American Incarceration and the War on Drugs, Dr. DBurris-Kitchen1





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Published on Oct 12, 2009

Comments With Dr. James Haney Presents*Criminal Justice System in the United States, with Dr. DBurris-Kitchen, Part 4. This video has Extended Text (et)drjhaney
The 1986 Crime Control Bill was probably the most damaging to Black offenders. This called for a mandatory minimum sentence of five-years for crimes involving 100 grams of heroin, 500 grams of cocaine, and just 5 grams of crack. Blacks make up about 12% of the U.S. population, and in 1980 they made up 23% of the prison population, by the late 1980s they made up 40% of the prison population, and over 60% of those people in prison charged with possession of narcotics. The War is not just fought against dealers, but users as well. By the end of the 1980s, the budget for narcotics spending was over $8 billion dollars, and over one million people were in our prisons and jails. And still, the War on Drugs continues (Lusane 1991; Parenti 2000).
The abuses of civil rights continued through the 1990s with the Clinton administration. He passed the 1994 Crime Control Bill that put 100,000 more police officers on our city streets, and helped Mayors across the country wage an all out "ass-kicking " war against our poor and our drug users. Police from New York to Los Angeles were busting down doors to apartments, raiding apartments without warrants; beating innocent people to death, and shooting innocent people whom got in the way. The .36 caliber gun was replaced by assault riffles, grenades, and military style fatigues. The urban streets truly looked like a military occupied zone. Blacks and Latinos paid, and are still paying, the highest price for this war. It was, and continues to be, their communities who lost funding so that more could be spent on the War on Drugs; it was and is, their people who were getting arrested at higher rates, regardless of the fact that Whites reported higher drug use; and it was, and is, people of color who ended up dead on the streets; and displaced from their apartments, and their assets seized (Parenti 2000). By the end of the 1990s, more than 2 million Americans are locked up, and over 70% of those locked up for drug offenses are people of color (Clear and Cole 2003).

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