Thursday, December 18, 2014

rule of law: flanking giuliani, police union bosses, the hudson and manhattan institutes...,

wikipedia |  The War on Drugs has incarcerated disproportionately high numbers of African-Americans. However, the damage has compounded beyond individuals and their families to affect African-American communities as a whole.

African-American children are over-represented in juvenile hall and family court cases, and as a result, they are removed from their families in droves, and placed in the federal system.[15] This is due to two reasons.

First, the high incarceration rate has not ignored families: mothers and fathers are incarcerated as well. This leads to a lack of a parental (mother or father incarcerated) figure to provide a good role model and stabilize a household. The impacts on their children are severe. African-American youths are becoming highly involved in gangs in order to generate income for their families lacking a primary breadwinner; with the War on Drugs having made the drug trade lucrative, it is a far more profitable for them to work for a dangerous drug gang than at a safe entry-level job.[16] The second-hand consequences of this are African-American youths dropping out of school, being tried for drug-related crime, and acquiring AIDS at disparate levels.[16]

Second, the high incarceration rate has led to the juvenile justice system and family courts to use race as a negative heuristic in trials, leading to a reinforcing effect: as more African-Americans are incarcerated, the more the heuristic is enforced in the eyes of the courts.[15] This contributes to yet higher imprisonment rates among African-American children, and tearing apart already damaged families.

The high imprisonment rate has also led the police to target African-American communities at disparately high levels of surveillance, invading privacy rights of individuals without probable cause, and ultimately breeding a distrust for police among African American communities.[17] High numbers of African American arrests and charges of possession show that although the majority of drug users in the United States are white, African Americans are the largest group being targeted as the root of the problem.[17] A distrust of the police in African American communities seems like a logical feeling. Harboring these emotions can lead to a lack of will to contact the police in case of an emergency by members of African American communities, ultimately leaving many people unprotected. Disproportionate arrests in African American communities for drug-related offenses has not only spread fear but also perpetuated a deep distrust for government and what some call racist drug enforcement policy.

The War on Drugs also plays a negative role in the lives of women of color. In 1997, of women in state prisons for drug-related crimes, forty-four percent were Hispanic, thirty-nine percent were black, and twenty-three percent were white, quite different from the racial make up shown in percentages of the United States as a whole.[18] Statistics in England, Wales, and Canada are similar. Women of color who are implicated in drug crimes are “generally poor, uneducated, and unskilled; have impaired mental and physical health; are victims of physical and sexual abuse and mental cruelty; are single mothers with children; lack familial support; often have no prior convictions; and are convicted for a small quantity of drugs”.[18]

Additionally, these women typically have an economic attachment to, or fear of, male drug traffickers, creating a power paradigm that sometimes forces their involvement in drug-related crimes.[19] Though there are programs to help them, women of color are usually unable to take advantage of social welfare institutions in America due to regulations. For example, women’s access to methadone, which suppresses cravings for drugs such as heroin, is restricted by state clinics that set appointment times for women to receive their treatment. If they miss their appointment, (which is likely: drug-addicted women may not have access to transportation and lead chaotic lives), they are denied medical care critical to their recovery. Additionally, while women of color are offered jobs as a form of government support, these jobs often do not have childcare, rendering the job impractical for mothers, who cannot leave their children at home alone.[19]