The Criminal Population and African Americans

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African Americans are targeted by law enforcement more often than any other race (Toth, Crews & Burton, 2008). Because of this the term racial profiling was created to explain the process of targeting people for criminal activity because of race not evidence (Toth et al, 2008). African Americans are over represented in the criminal justice system based on their population amount compared to whites (Toth et al, 2008). African American males are incarcerated at a rate 9 times that of white males in most states, in others that number may be as high as 12 to 26 times more (Toth et al, 2008). Nationwide statistics show in most states 1 in 20 over the age of 18 are in prison, while 5 other states report 1 in 13 or 14 compared to the 1 in 180 rate for white Americans (Toth et al, 2008). As of December 31, 2009 the percentage of African American males in state and federal facilities is 41 percent compared to the 37 percent of white males (West, Sabol & Greenman, 2010).

African Americans face many challenges through all stages of the criminal justice system (The Leadership Conference [TLC], 2011). In the first stage, arrest and detainment, African Americans are targeted more often by police officers than whites; they are also most often the recipients of police brutality (TLC, 2011). Even though there may not be an actual act of racial profiling, if a person or group of people feel they are being treated differently because of race then the problem exists (Toth et al, 2008). The belief of mistreatment strongly affects the relations between the minorities, in this case African Americans, and the police (Toth et al, 2008). Police may perceive African Americans poorly which can affect their treatment of them which adds to the strained rela...

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