Black People in Great Britain Six Times More Likely to Face Arrest for Drug Offenses Than White People

 According to an article in The Observer, new research has shown that black people are six times more likely to be arrested for drug offences than white people. They are also eleven times more likely to be imprisoned. This, all despite the fact, that there is no evidence that proves that black people are more likely to use or deal drugs.

 The evident bias in racial drug arrests in England and Wales is even worse than it is in the United States—where black people are three times more likely to be arrested and ten times more likely to be imprisoned than whites.

Professor Alex Stewart of the University of Kent found this disturbing trend when he analyzed recent data provided by the Ministry of Justice. Stewart said: “Criminalisation of illicit drugs reinforces social and ethnic inequalities. Decriminalisation of drug use would help to reduce these inequalities.” Stewart added: “This differential enforcement of drug laws contributes substantially to the over-representation of black people in prison in England and Wales.”

Source: The Observer

– Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

25 thoughts on “Black People in Great Britain Six Times More Likely to Face Arrest for Drug Offenses Than White People”

  1. PS A big factor in imprisonments is the amount of bail. See the 8th Amendment. In Georgetown most people were making $7 per hour before taxes and the minimum bail was $400. Once you were taken into custody a phone card was $20 minimum and each call over $2.

    One woman was arrested and held because her car registration expired. Her daughter had cancer. I listened to her talk to her husband about how he was trying to borrow the $400.

    The bail on the woman who pled guilty to a plea bargain for stealing her ex boyfriends stuff, which she didn’t do and they had no evidence was even stolen, was $10 K. Her PD told her she would be convicted and faced up to 10 years because the jury would believe she was a crook because she didn’t make bail and her ex’s friends testified that she didn’t keep the house clean.

  2. I read that people who were in jail don’t want to discuss it. Since I was never criminally charged I am willing to discuss it. Before I went to jail I assumed that most prisoners were guilty. Being in jail changed my impression at least of women prisoners who were all that I talked to. The women I met in jail did not strike me as generally being of lesser character than the women I met in business, school or church. I was shocked at the lack of evidence supporting charges. I met one woman who pled guilty to a crime they had no evidence even occurred simply to get out of jail. Her ex boyfriend had claimed that money and tools were missing when she broke up with him and moved out but there was no evidence. Another woman I met who was a graduate of a college that requires straight A’s for admission, who was white and attractive in appearance, who had no prior criminal record, and who showed me photos of her family’s boat and house on the lake, got 6 months for slapping her 250 pound boyfriend’s face and then missing a few probation hearings because they conflicted with her professional job. Right after that I saw a female actor on the television show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip slap her boyfriend’s face with no implications that it was a criminal act to slap your boyfriend’s face. Another woman was there for months because she had camped on private land with permission but was too close to the residence of her former boyfriend who had got a restraining order on her but not complained. She was white and claimed to have a college degree and to have worked for years as a school teacher. A black woman who claimed to be a law school graduate and to have no criminal record was imprisoned for months because when investigating her daughter’s boyfriend for pot the police found an unregistered gun that belonged to her dead mother in a locked safe in the garage with the other stuff belonging to her mother who had recently died. Another woman lost her job and custody of her children because a former landlord roommate with whom she had a rent dispute filed a complaint about her and it was sent to an old address so she didn’t appear in court when scheduled because she didn’t know about it.

  3. Elaine M. 1, November 6, 2010 at 2:47 pm


    It’s all Laura’s fault! If she hadn’t helped George W. to quit drinking, he never would have become president.

    Was he?

  4. Elaine,

    Now that you mention it, Laura does remind me of Angela Landsbury in The Manchurian Candidate.

  5. eniobob,

    It’s all Laura’s fault! If she hadn’t helped George W. to quit drinking, he never would have become president.

  6. I lived in Denmark and worked in England in the alcohol and drug field and, these countries have such a homogenous history, that anyone outside of the norm is scrutinized more thoroughly. I didn’t pick up on overt racism, but I certainly saw plenty of racial profiling. I know the Danes and Swedes have had similar reports and they bend over backwards not to be acting like those Americans.
    My experience with law enforcement in these European countries was an impression of much more professionalism and respect for being fair. That would go against this study, but it maybe what I mentioned above in terms of how anyone different really stands out and therefore, if on or selling drugs, will have a higher arrest rate.

  7. If we accept that there is no evidence to suggest greater participation in drug offences by black people, then I am rather puzzled as to why more are arrested here.

    Ny reason for this is the great care that the Police here are now required to take in order to avoid being accused of racism.

    There must be something that the black offenders must be doing/not doing to make it easier for Police to catch and successfully prosecute.

    I am inclined to suggest that they may be more disposed to fighting over “turf”, therefore making it more likely for them to recieve the attention of the authorities.

  8. “… The evident bias in racial drug arrests in England and Wales is even worse than it is in the United States…”

    This is an unforgivable situation which must not stand. The U.S. will not broach these upstart Britons in our noble march for the highest incarceration rate of minorities.

    We’ll have to divert funding for investigation of Wall Street and business corruption immediately for new prison construction and military ordinance for our local police departments. Excelsior!

  9. In the UK, the incarceration rate for blacks is 6.8 per 1,000.

    In the US, the incarceration rate for whites is 7.7 per 1,000.

    Which is the more oppressive and unjust society?

    For context, Japan has an incarceration rate of 0.6 per 1,000.

    Enforcement in the war on drugs primarily targets low-income, urban citizens. Drug prohibition will always create violent, corrupting, resilient criminal gangs. It provides an economic incentive for teens to set aside the incompetent education system designed and mandated by the government. It raises property crime rates. It continues to destroy basic liberties. And it incarcerates millions. Of all races. End it.

  10. eniobob,

    “Black People in(take your pick) Six Times More Likely to Face Arrest for Drug Offenses Than White People”

    That about sums it up.

  11. Similar news broke out here in Belgium yesterday when a hypothetical case study shown to judges revealed that foreigners would get harder sentences for a theft.

  12. Elaine/Kay,

    To see there is an income disparity in not only arrests and convictions but in sentencing as well I have only two words and I don’t mean where JT is staying in France:

    Paris Hilton.

  13. “Black People in(take your pick) Six Times More Likely to Face Arrest for Drug Offenses Than White People”

  14. Kay,

    I don’t have any statistics on that subject. I wouldn’t doubt that statistics would probably show that people who live in poor neighborhoods are more likely to be arrested and convicted of drug offenses than people of means.

  15. DOJ imprisoned me without a criminal charge. I don’t have a criminal record but I had the jail experience. I met a woman who was imprisoned for 6 months for the stated reason that she didn’t report her son for dealing. She was Hispanic and said she had no criminal record. They held her without bail apparently so they could pressure her son to plea bargain. Then I read an letter in the paper to an advice columnist about whether to report a drug dealer and the advice given was not to unless he is dealing to children.

    I lived in Steamboat Springs CO, a resort area designated by the DEA as a high drug use area. There I noticed that it was mostly poor people who were busted not rich people. The president of the city council was a convicted drug dealer but that was secret when he was in office and controlled the police budget. Steamboat had a low racial minority population so my take on the matter was that both rich people and poor people were using drugs but that the police only busted some people and that when they did the rich people or the people with connections bought back the evidence. It seemed that the police might be under pressure to make at least some drug arrests. I also heard of a situation in which the police caught someone with two pounds but the police report said they only had one pound.

    Do you know any statistics re arrest and conviction rate that are economically based?

  16. Transparency is a bitch …

    I have lots of relatives in “Great Britain” and they are some of the most ardent racists I’ve ever met.

    I would be very interested in such a study out of France …

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