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Race disparity in prisons highlights potential racism in laws

Did you know that Hispanics and black people are three times more likely to be stopped by police and searched for drugs than white people? It's a potentially disturbing fact for some of our Missouri readers who may have experienced this potential racial profiling for themselves.

Although many people would argue that justice is blind and that our nation's laws are black and white, some people would argue that this isn't the case, such as the statistic above shows. Furthermore, there are laws, both state and federal, that could further exemplify this point.

Take for instance the federal drug laws concerning crack cocaine. Did you know that prior to the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, those found to have crack cocaine in their possession suffered stricter sentencing than those who possessed powdered cocaine? The fact that black Americans are more likely to use crack and white Americans are more likely to use powdered cocaine would therefore mean that black people serve stricter sentences when convicted of drug crimes than white people.

We can see this is true by looking at statistics of prison populations. One in 15 black men are incarcerated compared to the 1 in 106 white men. Latinos fair no better with 1 in 36 being imprisoned.

Even though police departments across the nation, including here in Missouri, may insist that they do not participate in racial profiling, the laws may be doing it for them. It's because of this unfortunate fact that necessitates the need for a skilled lawyer when facing criminal charges. Because of their knowledge of the legal system, attorneys are well equipped to challenge such laws to ensure that their client has the right to a fair trial and receives proper justice in the end.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Narrowing the Racial Divide in the War on Drugs," Aug. 28, 2014

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