A new report has found that Black men are sentenced almost 20 percent more time in prison than White men for similar crimes.
The findings were released last week by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, an independent government agency. The study looked at five years worth of federal prison sentences, from 2011 to 2016, to find that Black male offenders received sentences on average 19.1 percent longer than those of “similarly situated” White male offenders. They measured for other possible reasons, like criminal histories, that could account for the large disparity.
The USSC noted in a 2010 report that the sentencing disparity has increased steadily since 2005 when the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Booker to increase judges’ discretion in sentencing. But Marc Mauer, director of the nonprofit Sentencing Project tells the Huffington Post that it is not just judges that might be the problem.
“It’s not necessarily racist judges,” he said. “But much of [the] disparity [is] likely due to decision-making by prosecutors.”
According to the non-profit organization, The Sentencing Project, the U.S. is the world’s leader in incarceration. The organization also found that Black men are nearly six times as likely as White men to be incarcerated.