The reality of the connection between race and drugs

The high arrest and incarceration rates for minorities compared to whites is an issue that law enforcement has been working on for decades. However, it persists. This is especially true for the Black and Latino communities. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, these two groups have the highest arrest and incarceration rates for drug crimes in the country. If you are a member of a minority group in South Carolina, this is concerning.

Problems with police

This situation causes many issues and results in bad feelings toward law enforcement and an overall distrust of the legal system. Even so, minorities still deal with being more likely to face issues with officers even when they are not doing anything wrong. As a minority from the Black or Latino communities, you are more likely to have the following happen to you:

  • A conviction for a drug crime
  • A prison sentence for a drug crime
  • A stop and search by an officer on suspicion of a drug crime

Part of the problem is that when you go to prison for a crime, you do not just have to serve your sentence for the time the court orders. You also have to deal with the consequences of a criminal conviction for the rest of your life. You could have difficulties finding employment and housing, be unable to vote and face deportation if you are an immigrant.

Police hyper-vigilance

One of the main reasons given for the higher rate of minorities facing drug charges is that law enforcement spends more time and puts more effort into patrolling low-income areas. This naturally leads to more interactions and more arrests.

What is upsetting is that crimes for these individuals are typically low-level drug crimes. In the current environment in which marijuana is quickly becoming a legal industry, rich investors are setting up to make millions from the same activities for which minorities spend time behind bars. This hardly seems fair and only pushes the narrative that something must happen to stop the unbalanced pursuit of minorities for drug crimes.

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