Race, Drugs, and Law Enforcement in the United States

Published in the Stanford Law and Policy Review | Re-posted on Human Rights Watch

[The significantly higher rates at which blacks are arrested and incarcerated on drug charges relative to the rates of whites raise a strong inference of prohibited discrimination that could be countered only if the disproportion were justified.

It is hard to conceive of a plausible justification. The rates bear no relationship to rates of offending; to the contrary, the evidence is clear that whites engage in drug offenses with relative impunity compared to blacks. The underlying motivation of the war on drugs was infused with racial views and concerns adverse to blacks. But even if the goal of combating drug abuse were untainted by racialized concerns, the means chosen to achieve that goal-heavy law enforcement in minority neighborhoods-is hardly a proportionate or necessary response, much less one consistent with the values of ICERD.]

Read the analysis here | Human Rights Watch


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