Systemic Racial Inequality Within The Justice System

Our legal system was designed to promote fairness and work for justice. However, people of color, especially black men, are arrested and tried at higher rates than whites. Once they are arrested, blacks are disproportionately more likely to go to jail for the same crime whites commit. According to the Pew Research Center, blacks were “more than six times as likely as white men in 2010 to be incarcerated in federal and state prisons, and local jails.” In addition, “five times as many whites are using drugs as African-Americans, yet African-Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of whites.”

Here is a look at systemic issues social workers may need to be more aware of in order to challenge them head-on.

Only 36% of blacks are confident that police treat blacks and whites equally. 72% of whites feel the same.


About 4% of American law enforcement agencies report police-involved shootings to the FBI. That is only 700 out of a total of 17,000 agencies.

Found on Huffington Post, based on an FBI Report

59% of white Americans rate the honesty and ethics of police officers highly, but only 45% of blacks agree. Gallup Survey

Gallup Survey

53% of black Americans believe that new civil rights laws are needed to reduce discrimination against them, but only 17% of whites agree.

Gallup Survey

84% of police officers report that they have seen colleagues use excessive force on civilians.

The American Conservative, based on a U.S. Department of Justice study

61% of police officers don’t always report their colleagues’ abuse of authority.

The American Conservative, based on a U.S. Department of Justice study

84% of black Americans feel that racism pervades the justice system.

Discover the Networks

In New York City, 80% of the NYPD stops were of blacks and Latinos.

Huffington Post