Report Confirms Unequal Disciplinary Treatment of Black and Latino Inmates in NY State Prisons

Los Black and Latino prisoners serving sentences in prisons run by state penitentiary authorities in New York continue to be treated unequally, with respect to inmates from other racial groups, as evidenced by disciplinary sanction data. Prisoners of color remain more likely than their white counterparts to face additional punishment behind bars.

This was denounced by a report presented by the New York State Inspector General, Just Lucy, where it was revealed that incarcerated Hispanics are 12% more likely to receive misconduct reports than white inmates; in the case of black individuals deprived of liberty, the figure reaches 22%.

The study noted with concern that the landscape of state prisonswhich house some 30,000 inmates, evidence that non-white inmates were issued more misconduct reports overall than whites, further evidence of the inequities faced by populations of color in society.

There is no question that the criminal justice system is just one of many systems that have a disproportionate and devastating impact on New Yorkers of color.“said the official. “Unfortunately, as the six-year data in our report reflects, while racial disparities may not start at the prison gates, they unfortunately don’t end there either.”

Another fact revealed in the report is that of the DOCCS employees who issued 50 or more misconduct reports, 226 employees issued them only to non-white incarcerated people, including 114 employees who issued them only to black or Hispanic incarcerated people.

Likewise, racial disparities against non-white incarcerated populations were more significant for reports of misconduct that required less physical evidence, giving greater discretion and possible bias on the part of the DOCCS employee.

The State Inspector General He stated that despite the policy changes advanced by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision of the State (DOCCS), that body continues to promote unequal treatment at each stage of the criminal justice system, which affects Latinos and blacks.

The official added that she hopes that the data revealed about the continued inequality in the treatment given to internal Help drive changes in prisoner justice and dignity policies and practices.

Although the data analyzed showed that the disparities in treatment increased slightly between 2017 and 2019, it was in 2020 that shot themselves, because black and Latino prisoners in that year had cases a 38% and a 29% more likely to receive misconduct reports than whites, so the official presented a series of recommendations to DOCCS.

The New York State Office of the Inspector General called for promoting annual anti-bias training for all staff, analyzing additional figures on disciplinary proceedings, publishing data that can be cross-checked with demographics, expanding the use of centralized hearing officers, and expanding the use of fixed camera systems within all correctional facilities across the state.

After the report, Victor Pate, co-director of the #HALTsolitary campaign, and José Saldaña, director of the Release Aging People in Prison campaign, insisted on the need to not keep prisoners in prisons and end solitary confinement, adding that the report confirms that state prisons are part of a “system of racist repression.”

“The new report from the Inspector General reveals that these racist practices, documented for many years, have actually gotten worse. The need for action on the part of the executive and legislative authorities is clear,” said the activists in a statement, where they mentioned several problems that inmates of color experience in prisons.

“From the extreme racial disparities in disciplinary sanctions documented in the report, to staff brutalizing, sexually assaulting and even killing people and covering it up with bogus sanctions, to the widespread use of racial slurs, outspoken white supremacists working as staff security and leadership, to flagrant violations of the HALT solitary confinement law, to repeated and racially biased denials of parole by the Parole Board, the system is racist and rotten to the core,” they concluded.

DOCCS has so far not commented on the report.

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