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Please begin with an informative title:

In Wednesday’s lead editorial over at the NY Times, we learn:

• “St. Louis has long been one of the nation’s most segregated metropolitan areas

• “In 1980, [Ferguson, MO] was 85 percent white and 14 percent black; by 2010, it was 29 percent white and 69 percent black.”

Meanwhile, "the analytics" of the situation in Ferguson, MO get even more surreal, the more one learns about them...


The Death of Michael Brown

Racial History Behind the Ferguson Protests

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
NEW YORK TIMES
AUGUST 13th, 2014

The F.B.I. may be able to answer the many questions surrounding the death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black student from Ferguson, Mo., who was a few days from heading off to college when he was shot by a police officer on Saturday. The shooting of Mr. Brown, who was unarmed, led to three days of protest, some of it violent, and several tense confrontations between residents of the St. Louis suburban town of 21,000 and the police.

But it doesn’t take a federal investigation to understand the history of racial segregation, economic inequality and overbearing law enforcement that produced so much of the tension now evident on the streets. The mayor and the police chief are white, as are five of the six City Council members. The school board consists of six white members and one Hispanic…

…The disparity is most evident in the Ferguson Police Department, of which only three of 53 officers are black. The largely white force stops black residents far out of proportion to their population, according to statistics kept by the state attorney general. Blacks account for 86 percent of the traffic stops in the city, and 93 percent of the arrests after those stops. Similar problems exist around St. Louis County, where earlier this year the state chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. filed a federal civil rights complaint alleging widespread racial profiling by police departments…

… The death of Mr. Brown is “heartbreaking,” as President Obama said Tuesday, but it is also a reminder of a toxic racial legacy that still infects cities and suburbs across America.

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

So, here’s a “suggestion,” and it’s based upon an op-ed, which appeared in The Times on Monday, by University of Michigan law professor Sonja B. Starr, “Sentencing, by the Numbers,” which is all about how, “courts use data-driven predictions of defendants’ future crime risk to shape sentences,” in 20 states in America, today.

Yes—just in case you didn’t catch this outrageous reality with the degree of clarity necessary for me to make a greater point, farther down below--we’re talking: broad-based, “pre-crime” sentencing (based upon “analytics”), occurring in courtrooms throughout 40% of these not so United States, as you read this

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — IN a recent letter to the United States Sentencing Commission, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. sharply criticized the growing trend of evidence-based sentencing, in which courts use data-driven predictions of defendants’ future crime risk to shape sentences. Mr. Holder is swimming against a powerful current. At least 20 states have implemented this practice, including some that require risk scores to be considered in every sentencing decision. Many more are considering it, as is Congress, in pending sentencing-reform bills.

Risk-assessment advocates say it’s a no-brainer: Who could oppose “smarter” sentencing? But Mr. Holder is right to pick this fight. As currently used, the practice is deeply unfair, and almost certainly unconstitutional. It contravenes the principle that punishment should depend on what a defendant did, not on who he is or how much money he has.

The basic problem is that the risk scores are not based on the defendant’s crime. They are primarily or wholly based on prior characteristics: criminal history (a legitimate criterion), but also factors unrelated to conduct. Specifics vary across states, but common factors include unemployment, marital status, age, education, finances, neighborhood, and family background, including family members’ criminal history.

Such factors are usually considered inappropriate for sentencing; if anything, some might be mitigating circumstances. But in the new, profiling-based sentencing regimen, markers of socioeconomic disadvantage increase a defendant’s risk score, and most likely his sentence…

(Bold type is diarist's emphasis.)

So, let’s review those “analytics” again, but this time as they relate to Ferguson, Missouri, where the shoe’s on the other foot…

• a town where the population’s 69% African-American, but where less than 6% of the police force is of the same ethnicity…

• a town where the mayor, the police commissioner and five of the six city council members are white; and the seven-member school board is comprised of six whites and one Hispanic, and…

• a town where, “Blacks account for 86 percent of the traffic stops in the city, and 93 percent of the arrests after those stops.”

"Analytically speaking," it would appear that maybe—just maybe—those involved in our country’s legal infrastructure could prevent a hell of a lot more crimes against law-abiding citizens by running some “analytics” on the ethnic/racial make-up of local municipal governments rather than engaging in the use of grossly-flawed statistics to sentence people based upon some imaginary, egregiously-biased penchant for “pre-crime.”

Just sayin’…


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