Drug Sentencing And Racial Disparity In America

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Drug Sentencing and Racial Disparity in America Abstract The United States has perhaps the best justice system in the world. In this country, an offender has the right to counsel and is considered innocent until guilt is proven. In other countries, offenders are considered guilty and must prove innocence. Today, crime is increasing at a rapid rate. One type of crime that is steadily increasing is drug offenses. There are numerous types of illegal drugs and these drugs are more potent and more dangerous than ever. Those people that distribute drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and barbiturates are the worst kind of criminal and whatever punishment is given definitely fits the crime. In this paper I will discuss the mandatory sentencing laws and whether these laws are biased towards blacks, particularly the black male. Drug crimes have increased dramatically and throughout the years and the government took the initiative to address the drug crisis. The government decided to pass a mandatory law that would sentence drug offenders to a stiff penalty. The mandatory law passed in 1986 enacted mandatory minimum sentencing. This law required judges to give fixed sentences; these sentences were based on the type of drug, the weight and drug mixture, and the number of prior convictions. African Americans appear to make up the largest percentage of those offenders that are sentenced under the mandatory law. There are underlying factors that contribute to this large percentage of blacks being sentenced that have no relation to race. One must examine the harm that drugs are doing to users, the family unit, and the community. Drugs have many different effects on an individual. These effects include physical and psychological effects in those who use them. Physical effects of drug use include fatigue and a loss of control over motor skills. There are

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