By Mr. Richard P. Burton, Sr.
PROJECT R.E.A.C.H. INC
Reports reveal that African Americans charged with low-level drug crimes are sent to prison at a rate almost five times greater than whites. Disproportionate justice impact studies examined and reveal the impact of drug laws on racial and ethnic groups and find in its research that, among defendants charged with a Class 4, low-level drug possession, 19 percent of African-American defendants were sentenced to prison, compared with 4 percent of white defendants. Within African American neighborhoods disparities are even greater. Additionally, statewide arrest data indicates that disproportionality in drug arrests occur in minority communities, including urban, suburban, and rural areas.
Because people of color, particularly African Americans, are disproportionately arrested, prosecuted, and imprisoned for low-level drug crimes across the United States, the need to change certain policies and practices so that justice is administered fairly across racial and ethnic lines is most urgent. Also, there is an urgent need to divert non-violent drug offenders from expensive incarceration to rehabilitation programs, such as court-ordered drug treatment. The problem of disproportionate incarceration undermines the fundamental principles of a just society, and further suggest that the time has come to stop this genocide.
It is critical that political leaders focus on despaired laws and sentencing guidelines as part of a solution for dealing with the war on drugs and the disparities which continues to grow the Prison Industrial Complex which creates more tax burdens. It’s time to end the failed “War on Drugs” and the disproportionate arrest and imprisonment of African Americans, Hispanics and the poor in this Nation. We need to mitigate the lasting harm to families and communities created by the disproportionate administration of justice and identify practical recommendations, such as expanding sentencing alternatives that include drug treatment and education.
Due to the fact that many low-level drug dealers/users are connected to gangs, listed below are some tips to help curtail these activities within our schools and communities while reducing the prison population.
•Attend meetings with concerned citizens and community groups to organize programs within the local school
through sports, drama and activities that offer alternatives to gangs.
•Provide gang, violence and drug prevention classes to students. Let them know about gang related violence, death statistics, drug problems and the dead end future for many members.
•Offer support and counseling to victims of gangs.
•Maintain dress codes that prohibit displaying gang colors, sagging pants or paraphernalia.
•Work with the local police by establishing community patrols or Neighborhood Watch program. Keep each other aware of drug dens, graffiti, gang members, and territories.
•Bring in community leaders, religious leaders, police, counselors, clubs like the YMCA and YWCA, business leaders and other community groups and ex-offenders and ex-gang bangers, to acquire knowledge and develop programs to stop drugs, gang and violence.
•Develop a strong bond with open communication with your children to stop them from joining or hanging around with violent gangs and drug users and dealers.
•Develop and Promote a “Say No To Drugs Campaigns” similar to Mr. Yuk.
Mr. Yuk was a trademarked graphic image, created by the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and widely employed in the United States in labeling of substances that’s poisonous if ingested.
“AT NO TIME DO WE CONDONE WRONGNESS ON EITHER SIDE OF THE WALL.”
Richard P. Burton, Sr., Director
PROJECT R.E.A.C.H., INC.
P.O. Box 440248
Jacksonville, FL 32244
Bus: 904-786-7883 Cell: 610-349-3358
A non-profit 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) (Re-enfranchisement) Organization
We provide events speakers and organize and facilitate criminal/juvenile justice forums