Report: Racial divide shrinks in US criminal justice system

FILE - In this March 20, 2019, file photo, the west facade of the Supreme Court Building bears the motto "Equal Justice Under Law," in Washington. Racial disparities have narrowed across the United States criminal justice system since 2000, though blacks remain significantly more likely to be impacted than whites. A study released Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019 by the nonpartisan Council on Criminal Justice found racial gaps declined in local jails and state prisons, and among those on probation and parole.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A new report by the nonpartisan Council on Criminal Justice says racial gaps have narrowed across the American criminal justice system between 2000 and 2016, the most recent data available.

Among the findings:

— The imprisonment rate for black people and Hispanic people dropped about 30% between 2000 and 2016, while white imprisonment rates increased about 12%.

— The rate at which black people were imprisoned for drug crimes fell by nearly two-thirds, while it increased for white people by about 7%.

— The racial disparity ratio between Hispanic people and white people for drug offenses dropped from five-to-one to 1.5-to-one.

— Both the black and white imprisonment rates for property crimes declined, but the decrease for black people was more than 10 times that for white people.

— The disparity ratio between black people and white people in county jails nationwide dropped by 42%.

— The decline in the black jail incarceration rate was largely driven by a 41% decrease in the black drug arrest rate.

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