The Changing Racial Dynamics of the War on Drugs

The Changing Racial Dynamics of the War on Drugs

According to a new report from the Sentencing Project, the number of African Americans incarcerated in state prisons for drug offenses declined 21.6 percent between 1999 and 2005, while the number of white inmates in prison for drug offenses increased 42.6 percent over the same period. The report, The Changing Racial Dynamics of the War on Drugs (23 pages, PDF), found that the decline in drug-related incarcerations of African Americans was in line with the decline in the arrest and conviction rates of African Americans over the same period, while the increase in drug-related incarcerations of whites was likely due to aggressive enforcement of methamphetamine laws. The Sentencing Project receives funding from the Open Society Institute and the Ford and Public Welfare foundations.