Mass Incarceration: The Civil Rights Issue of our Time
While most people can agree that having violent criminals on the streets is not a good idea, minds are starting to change when it comes to the notion that every criminal should be behind bars, and for as long as possible. The indisputable fact is, the criminal justice system is seriously flawed, resulting in unjust outcomes for people of color and those with limited financial means. After years of insufferable inequities, the time for change is now.
For anyone who might still think the criminal justice system is doing a great job, consider the following:
- Although only five percent of the world’s population lives in America, about one-fourth of incarcerated individuals on the globe are in American jails and prisons;
- 10 percent of Black men in their thirties are behind bars;
- Troubled American Indian youth are incarcerated more often than their white peers at a rate of 3:1;
- One-third of Black men and one-sixth of Latino men born this year will go to prison at some time in their lives;
- The money spent on incarceration in this country has increased by more than 1000 percent in the past four decades, to a price tag of roughly $90 billion annually;
- Well over two million people are incarcerated in this country at this very minute; about a quarter billion of them women;
- Approximately 10 million men, women, and children have a close family member behind bars today;
- Prison conditions are atrocious centers of overcrowding, violence, substandard health care, and now, petri dishes for COVID-19.
The impact of race on the ability to achieve justice has been well documented. Implicit bias affects every stage of the system, including the reasons for an arrest, the opportunities for assistance, the treatment by employees in the criminal justice system, and the weight of the sentence. Racial profiling, disparate laws (such as those related to Crack and Cocaine) mandatory minimum sentences, and pure racism impact the outcomes suffered by people of color every day in this country. Unfortunately, Las Vegas has an ugly history related to these issues, and, although efforts at reform have emerged in the past decade, there is still a lot of work to be done.
Dollars and Cents
Whether or not an individual accused of a crime winds up behind bars is based on one key factor: money. Those who cannot afford to pay for adequate investigations and legal counsel (never mind being able to bail out while waiting for trial) tend to be wrongfully convicted and are frequently given longer sentences. And yes, more often than not, those are people of color.
Fighting the Good Fight
At Lobo Law, our experienced Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers are motivated by the fight for justice. Have you or a loved one been given the raw end of the deal by the criminal justice system, or do you fear inequities moving forward? Let us help. Contact our Las Vegas office today to schedule a confidential consultation.