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Criminal Justice Reform

"No person ... shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." - Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  In theory, we should have a justice system where criminals are identified, arrested, tried, sentenced, and parolled without regard to skin color.  In reality, the system is not color-blind.  African Americans are frequently the targets of racial profiling, are more likely to be arrested for a criminal offense, and receive stiffer sentences for similar offenses.  While African, Hispanic (Latino), and Asian Americans make up only 26% of the general population, they make up 58% of the prison population.  

Every American has the right to a fair trial.  Might these disparities be caused by many Ethnic minorities' inabilities to afford adequate legal counsel, or a lack of diversity in the makeup of judges at all levels of the courts system?



Studies and analysis

Revising Who is guarding the guardians? A report on police practices and civil rights in America (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights - November 2000)

Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics - 1999 edition)

Justice On Trial:  Racial Disparities in the American Criminal Justice System (

Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics (U.S. Sentencing Commission - 1999)

State Rates of Incarceration by Race (PDF, The Sentencing Project - 2004)

Hispanic Prisoners in the U.S. (PDF, The Sentencing Project - 2003)

Reducing Racial Disparity in the Criminal Justice System (PDF, The Sentencing Project - 2000)

Race and Class Penalties in Crack Cocaine Sentencing (PDF, The Sentencing Project - 2002)

Young Black Americans and the Criminal Justice System: Five Years Later (PDF, The Sentencing Project -1995)

Intended and Unintended Consequences: State Racial Disparities in Imprisonment (PDF, The Sentencing Project - 1997)

Does the Punishment Fit the Crime? Drug Users and Drunk Drivers, Questions of Race and Class (PDF, The Sentencing Project - 1993)

Criminal Justice reference - terminology, definitions, and study guides


U.S. Sentencing Commission

The Sentencing Project


Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama

Criminal Justice Resource Guide (Aizman Law Firm)

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