More than 60 percent of all North Carolina prison inmates are minorities. Blacks, Native Americans, and Latinos are disproportionally represented, but there are several reasons for this.
More than two-thirds of prison inmates have yet to be proven guilty. These inmates have ongoing trials or are still waiting for their trial to start. Ninety-five percent of these inmates could have remained free if they merely paid a bail bond or acquired the services of bail guarantors. These inmates might have been ignorant of the functions of guarantors, hence their incarceration.
Concord recently conducted a Crime and Safety Briefing for the Latino community. One of the goals was to inform them about their rights and how they can avoid incarceration. Incarceration is a serious matter. Innocent or guilty, the chances of an individual committing a crime skyrocket once he has been imprisoned.
The justice system is severely inefficient, and you can spend more time in jail waiting for your trial to start than the actual time you’ll serve once sentenced. Many individuals opt to plead guilty so that they can return to their families as quickly as possible — even if it means a permanent mark on their record. Minorities are less likely to pay the required bond due to unwillingness or ignorance, and this is one reason for the disproportionate number of minority inmates.
One reason why there are more minorities in prison is that they commit more crimes. African-American culture tends to celebrate notoriety and disrespect for the law. This trait is mirrored in the Native American and Latino population to a certain extent. Criminality is tolerated because trust in law enforcement is at all-time lows. Violence and drug trafficking in the streets are ignored, which leads to rampant criminal behavior. Disrespect for the law and mistrust for law enforcement will have children looking up to gang members rather than police. Crimes are left unreported. Victims and witnesses would rather stay silent than be labeled a snitch.
Breaking the Pattern
One way to reduce minority prison population is to inform communities about their rights, especially about bail guarantors. Though bail bonds can be unfairly expensive, a bail bondsman can cut the cost down to a tenth, allowing you to remain free and provide for your family.
Breaking the culture of criminality and mistrust of law enforcement is more difficult and requires an extended period. Change should start in the family. The mentality of victim hood and oppression only serves as chains that hold people back by unwittingly giving them a sense of inferiority and hopelessness. Teach your kids that they can do what they want regardless of the color of their skin. America voted a black president twice — a clear testament that racism isn’t as prevalent as the media and some other sectors would like you to believe.
Yes, minorities dominate North Carolina prisons, but this is not because of racism. Overly expensive bond amounts and the unwillingness to use the services of guarantors contribute to the situation. However, gang culture plays a significant role.