This global health crisis has proven to be an equal opportunity discloser, in that it has spotlighted the layers of inequities and racial disparities so engrained in America’s structural systems. Nowhere else is this more evident than in our criminal legal system, where justice is often austere for African Americans. The ghastly statistics of the number of people confined in jails and prisons do not fully capture the scope and extensive reach of those swept up in our legal system. It is estimated that about 4-5 million people are on community supervision, to include probation and parole, which far outnumber the 2.3 million individuals behind bars. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 28 percent of people on probation and 38 percent of people on parole are African Americans. However, African Americans make up only 13 percent of the US adult population. In 2018, African Americans were 2.6 times more likely to be on probation and 4 times more likely to be on parole, as compared to Caucasians, as reported by Michael Gelb. Michael Gelb, Racial Disparities Still Mar Probation, Parole Despite 14% Decline: Report, The Crime Rep. (Aug. 13, 2020), https://bit.ly/3q0QVrj. Unless one is directly impacted, one probably cannot comprehend the challenging road African Americans must walk to be granted parole, to navigate parole conditions, and to successfully complete supervision.
Racial Disparities Inherent in America's Fragmented Parole System,
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wcl.american.edu/facsch_lawrev/2058