Study Shows the Racial Gap with Latinos and Drug Sentencing

The next time someone questions institutional racism and white privilege, show them this.

It’s no secret there are ethnic and racial disparities in the U.S. prison system.

A study recently examined the large gap concerning drug sentencing in American prisons. The research, published by Recovery, an organization that connects people with resources to help them deal with substance abuse and behavioral disorders, used by data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

One of the largest racial disparity in drug sentencing for Latinos was related to meth convictions. Believe it or not, Hispanic offenders received almost twice as many months on average than white offenders. Interesting enough, a study conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Healthback in 2015, showed that only 9.2% of Hispanic individuals had used illicit drugs in the past month, compared to 10.2% of white respondents.

The study also highlighted how Latinos accused of drug offenses were more likely to receive a prison sentence than White offenders. Just how much more, you ask? For Latinos, about 73% of the time there was a prison sentence, compared to just 36% for White defendants, and about 46% for Black defendants. That’s nearly double the amount as White offenders, who were most likely to simply receive a fine.


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