The Phoenix Flyer

Skin color a factor in Miami-Dade criminal justice, ACLU report finds

By: - July 20, 2018 12:12 pm

A new report published by the ACLU of Florida found that people in the Miami-Dade criminal justice system face harsher penalties simply due to their skin color. The report, “Unequal Treatment: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Miami-Dade Criminal Justice,” says neighborhoods are targeted according to their racial makeups by the criminal justice system. “With this report, we have the data to demonstrate what people working in the community have known intuitively: that the criminal justice system in Miami-Dade County is harsher on people of color,” said Jeanne Baker in a statement, chair of the ACLU of Florida Greater Miami Chapter’s police practices committee.

The University of Miami sociologists who authored the report looked at various areas of the Miami-Dade County criminal justice system between 2010 and 2015, from initial arrest to sentencing, to weigh fairness in “key decision-making points.”

“Our analysis found disparities at every decision point that result in advantages for White defendants and neighborhoods, and disadvantages for Black defendants and neighborhoods,” said Marisa Omori in a statement, co-lead author of the report and assistant professor of sociology at the University of Miami.

The ACLU of Florida plans to use the report to advocate for changes in policies and practices to reduce the disparities, said the press release.

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CD Davidson-Hiers
CD Davidson-Hiers

CD Davidson-Hiers is a 2017 summa cum laude graduate of Florida State University with a degree in Creative Writing and French. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key honors societies, and has received multiple writing awards for fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Prior to joining the Florida Phoenix, CD worked at the Tallahassee Democrat and has bylines in Tallahassee Magazine. She is a native of Pensacola and currently lives in Tallahassee with her tabby cat, Faulkner.