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Basic Facts About the War on Drugs

10. What does this drug policy do to the black community?

At the present time, one-fourth of all of the young black men in America are either in prison or on parole. Most of them were arrested on non-violent drug charges.

In Washington, DC, the Bush administration's "demonstration" city, half of all of the black men in the city are currently in jail or on parole. More than ninety percent have arrest records. The same is true of inner city black men in Baltimore, New York, New Jersey, and Florida.

Two-thirds of all of today's black male high school students will be dead, disabled, or in prison before their thirtieth birthday. The majority will go to prison because of non-violent drug charges. For every black man who goes to college, three will go to prison.

By the year 2000, about half of all black men in America will have gone to prison. Most of them will go to prison for non-violent drug charges. Most of those who go to prison will be released into society again. Because they are black men with a prison record, they will be permanently unemployable.

"The Prevalence of Imprisonment," US Department of Justice, 1980, and The Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics.

"Incarceration of Minorities," The Sentencing Project, Washington, DC, 1992

See also the Sentencing Project Reports for additional reports on the effects of drug policy on black men.

Employment Problems of Released Prisoners, Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, 1992

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