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The Crisis of the Young African American Male and the Criminal Justice System

April 15, 1999
In testimony before the United States Commission on Civil Rights, Marc Mauer documents the causes and consequences of high rates of criminal justice contact for black men and provides policy recommendations for reform.

In recent years policy attention regarding the crisis of the African American male has focused on a variety of areas in which African American males have suffered disproportionately from social ills.

These have included education, housing, employment, and health care, among others. Perhaps in no other area, though, have these problems been displayed as prominently as in the realm of crime and the criminal justice system.

African Americans have been affected in this area in two significant regards. First, African Americans are more likely to be victimized by crime than are other groups. This creates a set of individual and community problems which impede upon other areas of productive activity. Second, the dramatic rates at which African American males have come under some form of criminal justice supervision has created a complex set of consequences which affect not only individual victims and offenders, but families and communities as well.

This testimony explores the current status of African American males within the criminal justice system and considers projections for the future should current policies continue. It also assesses the factors that have created such high levels of criminal justice control. Finally, it provides a set of recommendations for public policy that would help to alleviate the disastrous circumstances that currently prevail while having a more constructive impact on public safety.

To read the testimony, download the PDF below.

 
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