The Champion

April 2011 , Page 24 

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Raising Race

By Robin Walker Sterling

“It is not permissible that the authors of devastation should be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.”
-James Baldwin

MY DUNGEON SHOOK: LETTER TO MY NEPHEW ON THE ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF EMANCIPATION­

I. Introduction

A. Disproportionate Minority Contact: The Problem
The statistics are familiar and jarring. Beating out even China, the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world.1 The U.S. incarceration rate has increased roughly six-fold, from fewer than 350,000 people in state and federal prisons and jails nationwide in 1972,2 to more than 2.3 million people as of June 30, 2009.3 This number translates to 748 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents.4 More than one in every 100 adult U.S. residents lives behind bars.5

The racial dimension behind these numbers is well-known to criminal defense attorneys. In 2009, Blacks comprised less than 13 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for almost 40 percent of the jail and prison p
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