Racial Equity Resource Guide


Unfair by Design: The War on Drugs, Race, and the Legitimacy of the Criminal Justice System

Organization: social research

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Equality before the law is one of the fundamental guarantees citizens expect in a just and fair society. We argue that recent trend toward mass incarceration, which has had vastly disproportionate impact on African Americans, is undermining this claim to fairness and raises a serious legitimacy problem for the legal system as a whole. Using original data from the Race, Crime and Public Opinion study we show that African Americans view the 'War on Drugs" as racially biased in its implementation. This perception of bias consequentially undermines legal system legitimacy by lowering blacks' expectations for police performance in their communities and encouraging receptivity to appeals for jury nullification based on race.

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