The War on Drugs is a War On...
PEOPLE OF COLOR
- Thanks to the drug war, America incarcerates 7 times more blacks than apartheid South Africa.
- More black men are under correctional supervision today than were enslaved in 1850.
- 15% of people who use drugs are black, but blacks make up 59% of drug convictions and 74% of those sentenced to prison for drug law violations.
- Latina women are 25% more likely to be incarcerated for drugs than white women. Black women are 200% more likely.
- Black women use drugs during pregnancy as often as whites but are 10 times more likely to be reported to child welfare services.
- 59% of women in federal custody are there for drug offenses. 10% for simple possession.
- Almost 60% of incarcerated women have children. 2.7 million children (1 in 28) in the U.S. will grow up without a mother.
- For more on how the drug war affects women, see the Drug Policy Alliance's excellent factsheet on the topic.
the mentally ill
- 45% of federal prisoners, 56% of state prisoners and 64% of local jail inmates have symptoms of serious mental illness.
- 65% of all people incarcerated in the U.S. meet the medical critiera for addiction, but only 11% receive any type of treatment.
- Two-thirds of addicted prisoners recidivate within two years in part because they do not receive treatment.
- The Justice Policy Institute found that "jail traumatizes persons with mental illness and makes them worse," and forces community health professionals to "work twice as hard to get them back to where they were before they entered jail."