SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Racial disparities have narrowed across the U.S. criminal justice system since 2000, though blacks are still much more likely to be behind bars than whites.
A study released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Council on Criminal Justice found racial gaps declined in local jails and state prisons and among those on probation and parole.
The divide in state imprisonment rates dropped for all major crimes but was most pronounced for drug offences. That’s a key driving factor for the racial shift.
For instance, blacks in 2000 were 15 times more likely than whites to be imprisoned for drug crimes, but that dropped to five times as likely by 2016.
However, the length of prison sentences increased for African Americans, partially offsetting a drop in arrests and incarcerations.
Don Thompson, The Associated Press