Race, Ethnicity, and Punishment

Michael Tonry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


This article reflects on the realities of race, crime, and punishment in the United States. It focuses on the damage caused on African Americans by the "War on Drugs" that started during the mid-1980s. It observes that the massive imprisonment of black men in the United States started in 1973 and examines the imprisonment and crime rates from the late 1960s to the early twenty-first century. The next section takes a look at the racial patterns in drug use, drug sales, drug arrests, and in conviction and imprisonment for drug offenses. The article also includes some suggestions to handle the unequal treatment of African Americans, such as making certain changes in drug policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Sentencing and Corrections
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199968756
ISBN (Print)9780199730148
StatePublished - Sep 18 2012

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2012 by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


  • African americans
  • Crime
  • Crime rates
  • Drugs
  • Imprisonment rates
  • Punishment
  • Race
  • Racial patterns
  • Unequal treatment
  • War on drugs


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