Report of the Sentencing Project to the United Nations Human Rights Committee Regarding Racial Disparities in the United States Criminal Justice System
Discrimination and racial disparities persist at every stage of the criminal justice system in the United States. The government continues to create, foster, and perpetuate these inequalities in violation of its obligations Article 2 and Article 26 of the ICCPR to ensure all its citizens, regardless of race, are treated equally under the law. Racial minorities, particularly African-American males, are disproportionately affected by the U.S. criminal justice system, which is the largest—and maintains the highest incarceration rate—in the world.
As noted in the Joint Submission, Report of the Sentencing Project to the United Nations Human Rights Committee Regarding Racial Disparities in the United States Criminal Justice System, “[r]acial minorities are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to face stiff sentences.” Racial bias influences all major actors in a criminal trial, including defense counsel, prosecutors, judges, and juries. These racial disparities are particularly pronounced in cases involving the so-called “War on Drugs” and in death penalty cases.