About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Pa.Sentencing Comm'n: Majority of Offenders (77%) are White

Two weeks ago, NorCo Council member Tara Zrinski proposed her latest nonbinding resolution. This one is calling for the legalization, taxation and regulation of marijuana. Although it was tabled at her own request, she called it a "social justice" issue. "This is going to take thousands of people out of jail," she said, adding that many of them are black or brown. Like her, I believed that sentences in Northampton County are disproportionately visited on persons of color. But according to the 2017 annual report from the Pa. Commission on Sentencing, we're both wrong.

The 136,313 offenses sentences in 2017 represent a four percent decrease over the previous year.

More than half of the non-DUI sentences (60%) were non-incarceration sentences. In 1990, county jail and non-incarceration sentences were nearly equal, but the trend now is to find an alternative to confinement.

Despite what you might think, non-incarceration is the most likely outcome for drug offenses (67%).

Eight-three per cent of all sentences in 2017 were the result of a negotiated plea, what we commonly call a plea bargain.

Contrary to what most of us are conditioned to think, the majority of offenders (73%) are white, not black or brown. In Northampton County, 77% of those sentenced were white. In Lehigh County, which has a larger minority population, 72% of those sentenced were white.

Most offenders (76%) are male.

Of 16,360 misdemeanor drug offenses like possession of a small amount of marijuana, the most common disposition is probation (71%). Statewide, only 1,227 people were sentenced in 2017 for possession of a small amount of marijuana. Instead of "thousands" of black and brown men languishing in jail, the actual figure is a little over 100 mostly white men.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

How dare you contradict the most knowledgeable and compassionate social justice warrior in the County. You no doubt disagree with her helping the airport solicitor, Robert Freeberg write the airport's transgender policy. Mandatory Sensitivity training for you O'Hare

Anonymous said...

Clearly, White Privilege is evident here with 77% of arrests being those of Caucasian origin

The police need to arrest more people of color to insure they are represented proportionally in these figures, otherwise it's just racism.

Anonymous said...

Down with men! More women must be jailed fro the sake of equality! Maybe Zirinski can do that as a resolution.

Anonymous said...

The majority of criminals are white men, no surprise there.

The fact remains that people of color are almost 4x more likely to be arrested for marijuana.

Anonymous said...

77% Seems in line with Pennsylvania (and, coincidentally, Northampton County) still being 81% white as of the 2010 census.

It's notable that people have an impression of black folks being more criminal, which is in part due to the fact cited by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=311), despite being only 13% of the population, African Americans commit on average 50% of the homicides in the country. If I recall correctly, there are also elevated rates for other violent crimes, including assault and armed robbery. As this usually puts them in more frequent contact with law enforcement, this would likely lead to a higher incidence of issues related to controlled substances.

Anonymous said...

Most people in jail associated with drugs is for stealing to support their habits, being jailed for possession for a first offense is rare. This is just another example of fake news, Good for you for showing the facts. Do you think the big media is willing to admit this?

Anonymous said...

@ 4:52 "People of color are almost 4x as likely to be arrested for marijuana"

Lots of great, well cited data on that here. Scroll down to "Drug Crime":
https://thealternativehypothesis.org/index.php/2016/04/15/is-the-criminal-justice-system-racist/

Anonymous said...

WHITE PRIVILEGE!!

Anonymous said...

"It's notable that people have an impression of black folks being more criminal, "

I suppose part of that is the tendency of the Morning Call to publish photos of criminals, they generally are not of white, ethnically Europeans.

Anonymous said...

As a perjurer, why would anyone believe anything Zrinski says

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Zarinski is simply full of buzzwords and shit, and she misses way to many meetings

Anonymous said...

You are always wrong !

Anonymous said...

Bernie, now them statistics are pure racist calculations.

Anonymous said...

There you go correcting the myths of Tara with facts. Why did she not get, at least, house arrest for her perjury? I thought that was a serious offense. Think you should put out a handbook of all her silly actions/statements. Some would call her white trash.

Anonymous said...

I think Zrinski's the exception that proves the rule that women are smart and capable. To mouth so much nonsense without doing a thirty second Google search indicates low intelligence and poor judgment. On balance, those qualities, and a general spendthriftiness, make her perfect for NorCo council.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, learn what a proportion is, and please fix this post. It is misleading, and downright irresponsible.

PA is 82% white as of the 2010 census. If 73% of offenders statewide are white, that means that the 18% of Pennsylvanians who are not white account for 27% of guilty sentences. Thus, people of color are wildly over-represented in these numbers to the tune of 167% of their proportion of the population.

Anonymous said...

You are just another angry old white man
desperately trying to remain relevant in the Year of the Woman.

Anonymous said...

Swaying statistical calculations to tell the tale of money backers study is just like the fake news media outlets telling positive progress when facts are morally regression is a fact of today's public and private sectors practices.
The for instance of perjury and getting a get out of jail free pass?

Anonymous said...

@10:10 Firstly, you're conflating the "offender" numbers (73%) with the "sentenced" numbers (77%).

Secondly, you're comparing 2010 census numbers to 2017 crime statistics, which leaves out 7 years of "browning" in PA. PA is certainly no longer 82% white, and I would wager that it's pretty close to that 77% number.

Thirdly, if you like statistics, I suggest you Google "FBI Table 21" and check out those numbers.

Bernie O'Hare said...

10:10, my post is accurate. The largest percentage of sentenced offenders is young white males. I see no evidence in this state that sentenced black offenders are disproportionate to their overall population. Nationally the data might be different. But the numbers in Pa suggest there is no bias by race. They also support the proposition that young black males are no more likely to commit crimes than young white males.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I confess that I thought minorities were sentenced disproportionately. So Zrinski is not the only person.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

I deleted one comment that is completely off topic and another that is way too personal.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Let me add to those construing this as an attack on Zrinski: it is not. As I made clear in my post, I thought that most sentences were meted out to persons of color bc that is what I always read. Now this may be true nationally, but it is false in Pa

Anonymous said...

I accept Ms. Zirinski's facts over thise fake news. She is without flaw. A gift to Northampton County

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Tara is busy ruining for her next office.

Anonymous said...

Get a life Bernie and lose the Jelly Belly !

Anonymous said...

Bernie is sticking up for people of color because his grandson is black.

Anonymous said...

try
https://www.sentencingproject.org/the-facts/#detail?state1Option=Pennsylvania&state2Option=0


Imprisonment by Race/Ethnicity (2014)
White imprisonment rate (per 100,000)204
Black imprisonment rate (per 100,000)1,810
Hispanic imprisonment rate (per 100,000)668

juveniles in Custody (2015)
White custody rate (per 100,000)93
Black custody rate (per 100,000)862
Latino custody rate (per 100,000)312

Anonymous said...

Great work, Bernie. Obvious if not outright naked political pandering is, as everyone knows full well, what you do best. Have a lovely rest of your day.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, regarding your 11:48 comment, your post is not accurate. Proportionate rates would mean that the proportion of black and brown people found guilty is the same as their proportion of the population, which it is not. Conversely, the proportion of white people found guilty is lower than their proportion of the population. This means the likelihood of being found guilty is much larger if you are black than if you are white. In your original post you do not even provide enough information to determine whether rates are proportionate because it does not provide the percentage of each ethnicity in the population of PA. The data that you presented, combined with the racial breakdown of PA leads to the opposite conclusion than the one you are asserting.

To 11:30:
1) the 73% is for the whole state, 77% is just Northampton Co. Also "offender" and "sentenced" appear to be used interchangeably here in the OP, although I am sure Bernie will correct me if he didn't intend that. After all, if you aren't found guilty and consequently sentenced, then you aren't an offender.
2) You are overestimating the rate at which the demographics of PA are changing. In the 20 years between the 1990 and 2010 censuses, the proportion of the population that is white fell by only about 6.5%, with largest increases in those identifying as 2 or more races.
3) I did look at the FBI unified crime report although it does not help your case, as it shows that for most categories of crimes Black or African American people are over-represented in arrests relative to their percentage of the population. (Interestingly, the types of crimes in which whites are most over-represented are those relating to alcohol).

Anonymous said...

Yes, of course. Obama told all of America and the rest of the whole damn world for eight long, long years exactly how much white people suck. Kindly consider the country now properly re-educated, thank you very much.

Next order of business?

Anonymous said...

Bernie is statistically challenged.

Its OK, so are the closeted bigots that chose to post "white privilege" sarcasm without even understanding the concept.

Still Dutch country.

Anonymous said...

If not for pitting one group against another, calling people who disagree with them racists, the Democrats have NOTHING. When they can't debate issues with facts they try to shame and bully opposing viewpoints away. So predictable.

Anonymous said...

@9:59, regarding point #3
My point with FBI statistics is not that crime is proportional, but exactly the opposite. It is SO skewed towards non-whites/non-asians (and corroborated by the National Crime Victimization Survey) that attributing the numbers to "police bias" is absurd. If you think the numbers should be proportional, then you have to find another reason, and not falling into the "just-so" trap of nebulous accusations of institutional racism.

Anonymous said...

Well done, Bernie.

Given that your conclusion was opposite your initial assumption, and you forthrightly stated that after doing the work to dig out the facts, you're to be commended and congratulated for your unstinting intellectual honesty.

We've had our differences, but so what? You did a fine piece of journalism here, as you so often do.

Best,
Jeffrey Anthony

Anonymous said...

9:43, it sounds like your argument is basically that the number so biased that they can't be a result of institutional bias, which is self-evidently preposterous. Additionally, the argument that follows from that statement (and that I think you are self-aware enough not to just come out and say) is that white people are inherently less prone to criminality than people of color, which is a) racist, and b) actually requires a much more elaborate explanation than institutional racism.

Anonymous said...

and then there is this
https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/21/us/police-stops-race-stanford-study-trnd/index.html?no-st=1553344853

"A study of nearly 100 million traffic stops from around the country has concluded that, on average, black drivers are 20% more likely to get pulled over than white drivers."

"The study's authors acknowledged that basing this disparity on bias is hard to do in a statistically significant way, so they also analyzed the data using what they called the "veil of darkness" test. Essentially, they looked at the racial breakdown of only the traffic stops made after dark, when the race of a motorist is harder to discern.
Even when applied to different subsets of data, the results "[showed] a marked drop in the proportion of drivers stopped after dusk who are black, suggestive of discrimination in stop decisions."
The study also looked at data related to police searches of stopped cars, and found searches on black and Hispanic motorists seemed to have a "lower bar" than searches on white motorists."

and
https://wset.com/news/local/video-shows-local-students-handcuffed-during-stop-for-broken-tail-light

"Four football playing college students at the Virginia University of Lynchburg (which is totally not named after lynchings but I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that) were stopped by police because they exceeded the number of blacks allowed to be in one car in the town of Lynchburg.

According to ABC 13 News, the four football players were leaving an early morning workout when they were stopped by a police officer who was driving in the opposite direction. That’s right, somehow the officer, who was not racially profiling any of the students, made a U-turn after the students passed them to notice that they had a broken tail light.

and the last time white folks were handcuffed for a broken tail light?