According to a survey from the Council on Criminal Justice, the racial gap in jails and state prisons in Georgia and across the country has narrowed since 2000. The racial gap among those on parole or on probation has also narrowed since then. In that 2000, black people were 15 times more likely to be in a state prison because of a conviction for a drug crime than white people. However, by 2016, they were only five times more likely to be in a state prison compared to white inmates.
However, the report also said that black offenders were being sentenced to longer jail and prison terms regardless of the crime that they had been convicted of. Furthermore, there were still six times as many black male inmates than white male inmates in state prisons as of 2016. There were roughly twice as many black female inmates in state prisons as there were white female inmates in 2016.
The study suggested that a variety of factors could explain why black people are more likely to be imprisoned than white people. Those factors included racial bias on the part of judges, prosecutors and juries as well as tougher sentencing laws in the 1980s and 1990s. A separate study in California found that the disparity could be caused by police focusing on areas that have high crimes rates and large minority populations.
Individuals who have been charged with any type of criminal offense may benefit from hiring a criminal defense attorney to help with their cases. An attorney might be able to have some or all charges dropped in a matter before it goes to trial. It may also be possible for an attorney to negotiate a plea deal that allows a person to avoid going to jail or avoid other serious consequences.