Blacks in Government (BIG) has become the latest national African-American group to officially call for an end to the “war on drugs” after passing a resolution at its delegates meeting last week.
The resolution (PDF), which will be delivered to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, blames drug prohibition for the rapid expansion of the prison population and racially biased prison sentences.
The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world and African-Americans are 13 times more likely to be sentenced to jail than whites facing the same drug charges.
“Most drug arrests can be interpreted as a virtual race war to profile, incarcerate and disenfranchise African Americans,” the resolution states, “invalidated by its disproportionate and biased enforcement operations and prosecutions; thus treating similarly-situated White Americans must differently.”
The resolution calls for the government to develop “alternatives to incarceration” and a federal investigation into racially biased drug sentencing.
“I personally witnessed racially biased enforcement procedures when I ran a joint DEA task force,” U.S. Marshal Matthew Fogg, former BIG vice president, said in a statement. “When I requested equal enforcement of upscale suburban areas, I met internal resistance.”
Fogg is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of police, judges, prosecutors and prison wardens who support legalizing and regulating drugs.
“Studies show that all racial groups abuse drugs at similar rates, but the numbers also show that African Americans, Hispanics and other people of color are stopped, searched, arrested, charged, convicted, and sent to prison for drug-related charges at a much higher rate,” California State Conference of the NAACP president Alice Huffman said.
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