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Copyright (c) 1997 University of Colorado Law Review, Inc.
University of Colorado Law Review

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: DIVERSITY OF OPINIONS: AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AND THE CRIMINAL LAW

Fall, 1997

68 U. Colo. L. Rev. 841

Author

Paul Butler *

Excerpt




 
No one understands that surviving the impossible is sposed to accentuate the positive aspects of a people.
 
Ntozake Shange 1


 
When one black man graduates from college for every 100 who go to jail, we still need affirmative action.
 
Colin Powell 2

I. Introduction
 
Why are more than half of the men in state and federal prisons African American? 3 Why are almost half of the women in state prisons African American? 4 Why are more than one in three young African American men under criminal supervision? 5

Perhaps the problem is related to others:

Why is African American academic performance worse than that of whites? 6

Why can't many minorities get promoted to senior management positions or win government contracts? 7

Why aren't there more minorities in Congress? 8

If these problems are related, perhaps the legal and public policy responses to them should be coordinated.

Affirmative action has been one response to several of the aforementioned problems. 9 It is a remedy that has enjoyed reasonable success. 10 However, in addressing the problems of African Americans, affirmative action largely has been limited to the contexts of education,employment, and voting. Affirmative action has ignored one of the most troubling disparities between the white majority and the black minority in the United States. The purpose of this article is to make the case for affirmative action in criminal law. 11

In the criminal justice system, as in civil law, there is tension between the ideal of ...
 
 
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