How can we investigate problems between minorities and police services? Importantly, what is the nature and extent of the problems between the police and minority communities? How widespread are the problems and for whom are these issues problematic? Aiming to be both descriptive and prescriptive, the following will explore what has been done regarding this problem, and whether or not the innovations were effective? Finally, what are the possible solutions to the present problems between police and minority communities? Seeking to address these questions as they pertain to the issue of minorities within the United States and their relationship to the police services, the following will provide a thorough analysis of a complex phenomenon (Skogan, 2003).
The United States of America boasts the highest incarceration rates on the planet, even higher than places such as China, Iran or Russia. According to a report released by the Pew Center for Research on the United States, nearly one in 100 persons in the United States is incarcerated (2008). Accordingly, the state of California alone spends $8.8 billion annually on incarceration costs and while the statistics above are, remarkable, so too are the racial disparities within the American penal system. Accordingly, while African-Americans account for just 13% of the total population, their incarceration rates are much higher than for all other ethnic groups. With nearly 50% of the total prison population in the United States, African-Americans account for a disproportionate number of inmates in this country. Importantly, it is estimated that African-Americans have a 16% risk of going to prison in their lifetime, compared to a 2% risk for whites.
According to scholar Scot Wortley, “blacks are still 2 times more likely to experience a stop by police and four times more likely to experience both.