American criminals with a dark skin color receive about twenty percent harsher sentences for comparable crimes than white men. Also, colored people are five times more likely to be sent to prison compared to their white counterparts.
This appears from a recently published study by the American ‘sentencing commission’, an independent government organization that advises the American government when it comes to criminal justice. Researchers from that organization took the data of convictions by the federal government in the U.S. between 2011 and 2016. They discovered that the punishments to which black men in the country are sentenced, on average, are about 19.1 percent higher than those of white men, for offenses committed under the same circumstances.
Even if one takes into account a previous criminal record, as a possible cause for the more severe punishment of the black men, it appears that they still received 20.4 percent more punishment. Until 2005 that number was only 11 percent. In that year, the US Supreme Court decided that judges got more autonomy when imposing punishments. But experts point out that it is not necessarily racist judges who have increased the punishments of black men. Justice also plays its part, especially when it comes to deals that can be made with suspects about their punishment. This writes the Huffington Post this weekend.
The higher sentences are only part of the problem of racial discrimination within the American judicial system.