Black Americans Wrongfully Convicted At Far Greater Rates, New Study Finds

Published March 9, 2017
Published March 9, 2017

African-Americans run a far greater danger of being wrongfully locked up than white Americans.

Prison Innocent Og

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A new study has found that African-Americans face wrongful conviction at far greater rates than the general American population.

The National Registry of Exonerations announced the results of a study this past Tuesday, results which found that 47 percent of 1,900 defendants who were exonerated between 1989 to 2016 were African-American.

This means that courts wrongfully convicted African-Americans of crimes they did not commit at three times the rate of their representation in the American population.

“In the murder cases we examined, the rate of official misconduct is considerably higher in cases where the defendant is African-American compared to cases where the defendant is white,” Samuel Gross, a University of Michigan Law School professor and a senior editor of the registry, told Al Jazeera.

The study found that courts were seven times more prone to convict an African-American than a white American. According to Gross, unconscious bias, institutional discrimination, and explicit racism are all factors in why this disparity of justice occurs, Al Jazeera reports.

It also takes longer for African-Americans to be exonerated than white Americans.

“On average, black murder exonerees spent three years longer in prison before release than white murder exonerees, and those sentenced to death spent four years longer,” the report said, according to Al Jazeera

The disparity is even worse for drug-related crimes: courts wrongfully convict African-Americans at a rate of 12 times more than white Americans.

For more on the systemic injustice occurring in the U.S. legal system, considering watch the Netflix documentary “13th,” which chronicles the way American politicians have used the courts to lock up wide swaths of the African-American population.

Next, check out how a private prison denied inmates heat and hot water for months, before finding out why the Trump administration has embraced the private prison industry.

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