89.1 WEMU

Wide Racial Disparities Found In Washtenaw County Criminal Justice System

Sep 3, 2020

Gavel
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Due to recent heightened awareness of racial bias in our country, the "Citizens For Racial Equity in Washtenaw" or "CREW" was formed to examine the local criminal justice system for any racial disparities.  The report uncovered evidence of wide racial disparities in the county.

WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with committee co-chair Linda Rexer about the report's findings.


Linda Rexer
Credit Linda Rexer

According to a new report from the "Citizens for Racial Equity Washtenaw" committee, a wide range of racial disparities from policing to prosecution to sentencing are taking place locally.

The seven-member, citizen-led committee looked at publicly available criminal case data in Washtenaw County and found African Americans are up to 30 times more likely to be charged in a range of felonies than white people and receive harsher sentences.  Committee co-chair Linda Rexer says, while they were examining the criminal justice "system" and patterns, the impact is very personal.  She said, "These are not numbers, these are our neighbors.  These are people whose lives are affected."

She said the committee came up with a number of recommendations to improve the Washtenaw County criminal justice system, including a list of questions to ask, including of ourselves, about our attitudes, and perspectives of discrimination in the criminal justice system.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu