Justice may be considered blind, but a new study shows that it’s definitely not colorblind.

Researchers from Yale University, Drexel University, and American University recently published a study in the Journal of Drug Issues that examined the differences in white and black drug offenders, and concluded that each group had different reasons for committing drug-related crimes, different preferences of drugs, and thus different reentry programming needs.

The study was conducted using data from Structures, Health and Risk Among Reentrants, Probationers and Partners (SHARRPP), a larger study that analyzed the relationship between the criminal justice system and the community, and the black/white disparities in HIV-related sexual risk. Researchers analyzed 243 black and white non-violent drug offenders in New Haven, Conn., for demographic characteristics, substance use, and the reentry services they had accessed.

They found notable demographic differences between black and white drug offenders in several areas including gender, number of children, education, and homelessness. The black participants in the study were mostly male and had more children than the white participants. While white participants were more likely to have a high school diploma or GED, they were also more likely to report a history of homelessness.

Criminal justice histories between the two groups differed as well. Black people were convicted significantly fewer times than white people, had significantly more sentences that resulted in jail time and served longer stretches of time in prison than whites. Black people were 2.2 times more likely to have… (continue reading)