Racial disproportionality in the US criminal justice system is a fact that can be proved with statics. This could help to explain why a young black woman like Sandra Bland could end up dead after a routine traffic violation.
As Sandra Bland’s death has been ruled as a suicide let’s look at statistics for deaths in police custody.
Low suicide rate among Black inmates
When incarcerated, Black people are the least likely to commit suicide compared to whites and Hispanics. In America, Black people are more likely to succumb to illnesses such as heart disease. This may include heart-related deaths that were partially the result of strain during arrest or other confrontations while in custody, as well as deaths unrelated to incarceration.
The fact is white inmates are five times as likely to commit suicide in a local jail as blacks.
Higher arrest-related death
Black people face a higher risk of arrest-related death than whites.
Among every 100,000 black people who are arrested, 5.6 die in arrest-related deaths, compared with only 3 of every 100,000 white arrestees. Those homicides are most likely to be committed by law enforcement personnel, not other jail inmates (homicides include both justifiable and criminal homicides).
The US Justice Department counted 2,958 arrest-related homicides between 2003 and 2009; 99 per cent of those were committed by law enforcement.
The Justice Department notes in both its report on deaths in jail and on arrest-related deaths that the numbers are likely to be underestimated because of under-reporting.
An article in the Huff Post highlighted research that shows that blacks face a greater chance of interacting with police for “very minor traffic violations” than whites, primarily because they are under greater suspicion for certain offences.
Looking at statistics we learn that:
- Black drivers (13 per cent) were more likely than white (10 per cent) and Hispanic (10 per cent) drivers to be pulled over by police in a traffic stop.
- White drivers involved in traffic stops were searched at lower rates than black and Hispanic drivers…
- A greater percentage of black (7 per cent) and Hispanic (6 per cent) drivers were ticketed than white drivers (5 per cent).
Statistics for the criminal justice show that:
- Prison sentences of black men were nearly 20% longer than those of white men for similar crimes in recent years, an analysis by the US Sentencing Commission found.
- When in custody, both black men and women face a greater likelihood of being “disproportionately represented” in prison.
It would seem that just by being noticed by state trooper Brian Encina Sandra Bland’s chances of incarceration were increased. Looking at the video of his disgraceful performance whether she put out that cigarette or not this man had already judged her and was ready to take her in for something…anything.
As always just highlighting a problem doesn’t solve the problem. Peace!