Racial Disparities in Cleveland Drug Prosecutions
The Cleveland Plain Dealer is calling attention to racial disparities in the treatment of felony drug cases in Cuyahoga County.
In Cuyahoga County, white people are more likely to have their felony drug charges reduced to misdemeanors -- or to get treatment as an alternative to any conviction -- than black people charged with the same crime.
The Plain Dealer found:
[S]ince 2000, a black person has been 12.7 times more likely than a white person to be sent to a state prison from Cuyahoga County on drug charges.
To make fair comparisons, the Plain Dealer examined drug cases from last year that involved a defendant with no prior indictments who was charged with and pled guilty to one count of simple possession.
Among the 364 defendants fitting those conditions, roughly 63 percent were given a second chance at having their cases dismissed -- and avoiding a conviction of any kind -- by successfully completing a treatment program. But white defendants were considerably more likely than black people to get that second bite at the apple. Among whites, 72 percent of defendants got the treatment option, compared to 53 percent among blacks.
The black first-timers, meanwhile, were 66 percent more likely to be saddled with a felony record than their white counterparts.
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