The New American Apartheid

Part 2 of 4

(excerpt from article at


There is now little doubt that there is a close correlation between the 'war on drugs' (and on 'gangs') and the growth of the prison industrial complex. This 'war' was officially launched by President Reagan in mid-1980s when he promised that the police would attack the drug problem 'with more ferocity than ever before' What he did not say, however, was that the enforcement of the new drug laws 'would focus almost exclusively on low-level dealers in minority neighborhoods.' Indeed, the police found such dealers in these areas mainly because that is precisely where they looked for them, rather than, say, on college campuses. The results were immediate; the arrest rates for blacks on drug charges shot dramatically upward in the late 1980s and well into the 1990s.

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