This Week in White Supremacy #142: Harvard Study Shows Systemic Racism in Massachusetts Criminal Justice System

The Root – The study, “Racial Disparities in the Massachusetts Criminal System” (pdf) unearthed a number of factors that contribute to these significant disparities, including:

  • It’s not that Black people are criminals: It’s that the cops think Black people are criminals: For instance, despite making up only 24 percent of Boston’s population, Black people made up 63 percent of the civilians who were interrogated, stopped, frisked or searched by the BPD between 2007 and 2010. According to the researchers, this suggests “that the disparity in searches was more consistent with racial bias than with differences in criminal conduct.”
  • Black suspects don’t get bail: The average bail is slightly higher in cases involving Black defendants. Furthermore, more Black and Latinx defendants are detained without bail as compared to white defendants.
  • Black people are charged with higher offenses: But curiously, when they get to court, Black defendants are convicted of charges roughly equal in seriousness to their White counterparts despite facing more serious initial charges.
  • There are actually two separate systems: The study notes that prosecutors are more likely to exercise their discretion to send Black and Latinx people “to Superior Court where the available sentences are longer.”
  • And separate sentences: If you’re Black and charged with crimes carrying a mandatory minimum, you are substantially more likely to be incarcerated and receive a longer sentence.
  • Especially if they find drugs or guns on you: Black and Latinx people charged with drug offenses and weapons offenses are more likely to be incarcerated and receive longer incarceration sentences than white people charged with similar offenses
  • Sentencing length: The average Black person’s sentence is 168 days longer than a sentence for a white person. Even when the researchers controlled for criminal history, jurisdiction, and neighborhood, they concluded: “[R]acial disparities in sentence length cannot solely be explained by the contextual factors that we consider and permeate the entire criminal justice process.”

Read the article | Download the report


  • Be A King on Twitter: “”The 1619 Project curriculum is available. What we’re exposing is a true fear of our children learning a more accurate history of the United States.” -@nhannahjones” / Twitter


  1. Complex Sports on Twitter: “Chiefs fans started booing while the Texans and Chiefs locked arms in unity.” / Twitter
  2. Bronx woman who accused cop of ripping eye out gets $1.25 million – New York Daily News
  3. Coronavirus kills far more Hispanic and Black children than White youths, CDC study finds – The Washington Post
  4. More than 1,000 anti-Asian racism reports in California | The Sacramento Bee

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