The legal system is an institution that works to distribute justice while often perpetuating inequities within the communities it aims to protect. Over-policing, excessive use of force by law enforcement, lack of access to adequate legal aid and mass incarceration all disproportionately affect communities of color.
America’s approach to punishment often lacks a public safety rationale, disproportionately affects minorities and inflicts overly harsh sentences. According to The Sentencing Project, one out of every three Black males born today can expect to go to prison in his lifetime, as compared to one out of every 17 white males. In addition, women are the fastest growing incarcerated population in the U.S. with an increase of 716% since 1980.
In North Carolina, the fairness of the justice system has been called in to question. According to the ACLU a Black person is over three times more likely to be arrested than a white person for marijuana possession in North Carolina, even though both groups use marijuana at the same rate. Use the interactive map to view the arrest rate for marijuana possession in Anson, Cabarrus, Iredell, Mecklenburg and Union counties.