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A Judge Asked Harvard to Find Out Why So Many Black People Were In Prison. They Could Only Find 1 Answer: Systemic Racism

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It wasn’t Black-on-Black crime. Violent video games and rap songs had nothing to do with it; nor did poverty, education, two-parent homes, or the international “bootstraps” shortage. When a judge tasked researchers with explaining why Massachusetts’ Black and Latinx incarceration was so high, a four-year study came up with one conclusion.

Racism.

It was always racism.

According to 2016 data from the Massachusetts Sentencing Commission, 655 of every 100,000 Black people in Massachusetts are in prison. Meanwhile, the state locks up 82 of its white citizens for every 100,000 who reside in the state. While an eight-to-one racial disparity might seem like a lot for one criminal justice system, nationwide, African Americans are imprisoned at almost six times the rate of white people. So, in 2016, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants asked Harvard researchers to “take a hard look at how we can better fulfill our promise to provide equal justice for every litigant.”

After gathering the raw numbers from nearly every government agency in the state’s criminal justice system, examining the data, and researching the disparate outcomes, Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program found that Black incarcerees received more severe charges, harsher sentences, and less favorable outcomes than their white counterparts. They looked at more than a million cases, from the initial charges through the conviction and sentencing, and discovered disparities that could not be explained by logic or reason.

“White people make up roughly 74% of the Massachusetts population while accounting for 58.7% of cases in our data,” the study explained. “Meanwhile, Black people makeup just 6.5% of the Massachusetts population and account for 17.1% of cases.”

Of course, that could only mean that Black people commit much more crime, right?

Nope.

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Photo: Zendograph (Shutterstock)

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Click the link below for the article:

https://www.theroot.com/a-judge-asked-harvard-to-find-out-why-so-many-black-peo-1845017462

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