A Report to the U.N. Reveals Deep Racial Disparities in America's Criminal Justice System

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Significant racial disparities persist in all aspects of the American criminal justice system, according to a new report issued to the United Nations by the Sentencing Project. The report finds discrimination against people of color in the policing, pretrial, sentencing, parole, and post-prison stages of the country's justice system.

The Sentencing Project, a criminal justice reform non-profit, sent the report to E. Tendayi Achiume, the U.N.'s racism watchdog.

There are 2.2 million incarcerated individuals in the U.S.—more than any other country. In 2016, African Americans comprised 27 percent of all individuals arrested in the U.S., double their share of the population.

The report attributes these statistics to "disproportionate levels of police contact with African Americans," especially regarding drugs. More than a quarter of those arrested for drug violations in 2015 were African American, though drug use rates "do not differ substantially by race and ethnicity," the report states.

The Sentencing Project suggests actions to be taken now that can help counteract the current state of the U.S. criminal justice system: For starters, ending the War on Drugs, eliminating mandatory minimum sentences, reducing the use of cash bail, and implementing training to reduce racial bias.

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