As fewer Blacks use, more pay the prison time

The headline from a recent article by Robin Scheral, that originated in AlterNet, reads: A racist stereotype is shattered: Study finds white youth are more likely to abuse hard drugs than black youth. It went on to say that a 12-year study highlights the incongruence between drug use and incarceration rates along racial lines.

I have written professionally on urban policy – including the so-called war on drugs and the criminal justice system for more than 30 years. And yet, I knew this was true as a teenager, simply based upon my experiences as a black youth. And I suspect every black and Hispanic person in America – who is even relatively conscious – knows almost intuitively, this to be true.

As I have been saying for years, the disproportionate incarceration rates of black and brown people in this country has little to nothing to do with the criminality of individuals or even crime control in those communities. And everything to do with the implementation of public policy specifically designed for the social and population control of poor people in general, and people of color in particular. In concert with a violent and peculiar form of predatory capitalism that thrives off racism, classism and the movement of these populations in and out of the penal system for profit.

The vulgar embrace of the use of “private prisons” by the Trump Administration and his appointment of the flagrantly racist, right-wing Alabama native and neo-Confederate U.S. Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as the U.S. Attorney General of the United States, puts to rest any doubts about this. But thanks for the in depth investigative report anyway – Captain Obvious.


Trevor W. Coleman