Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Report: Black Texans are twice as likely to be arrested for weed possession
Surprisingly, that's less than the national average.
The ACLU released a report today finding that blacks are more likely to be arrested than whites for marijuana possession. Says the report, in 2010, at least, “a Black person was 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person — a disparity that increased 32.7% between 2001 and 2010.” This, even though the report also insists blacks and white smoke marijuana “at similar rates.”
In Texas the disparity’s not quite as wide: The War on Marijuana in Black and White says a black person in Texas is 2.3 times more likely to be arrested for holding pot. That’s based on the state’s demographics: Twelve percent of the state’s population is black, according to the U.S. Census, yet according to the ACLU’s data blacks accounted for 25.8 percent (or 19,164) of the state’s 74,286 marijuana possession arrests in 2010.
In Dallas County blacks make up 22.5 percent of the population, but according to the report they account for 47.9 percent (or 2,015) of the 4,206 arrests made in 2010. That too is well below the national average; the same holds true for Denton, Tarrant and Collin Counties. But there are others where the black-white disparity is enormous — Van Zandt County, for instance, where blacks are 34.1 times more likely to be popped for pot possession than whites, which is one of the highest rates in the nation.
Which doesn’t mean all those folks being arrested in Dallas County or Texas are actually white.
As the report notes, some of those may be Hispanic, but Dallas County jail records often identify Hispanic prisoners as “white.” And, per the report, “The FBI/UCR likely classifies them as ‘white’ arrests, thereby reducing artificially the Black-white arrest disparities to the extent that Latinos are arrested at higher rates than whites. That is, if many of those ‘white’ arrests are actually arrests of Latinos, and if the Latino arrest rate is greater than the white arrest rate, the actual Black-white arrest rates are much greater than the disparities contained in the present data.”
As for the national disparity, the report insists this is just further evidence that the so-called War on Drugs is a failure — a money-burning, time-wasting failure. The ACLU insists that in 2010 alone, Texas spent $251,648,800 arresting, trying and incarcerating those arrested for marijuana possession. Says the report, the War on Drugs “has needlessly ensnared hundreds of thousands of people in the criminal justice system, had a staggeringly disproportionate impact on African-Americans, and comes at a tremendous human and financial cost.”
Read the whole thing here.