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Half Of D.C. Young Blacks On Police Roll

Associated Press

Half the young black men in the District of Columbia are under criminal justice supervision on any given day, according to a report released Monday by a group advocating alternatives to prison.

The study by the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives focused on black men aged 18 to 35 and found half are in prison or jail, on probation or parole, or out on bond or a warrant.

And, it said, by the time a young black man reaches the age of 35 in the district, his chance of having spent time locked up exceeds 80 percent.

A 1995 nationwide study estimated that one in three black men was involved in the criminal justice system.

Study author Eric Lotke said the high rates are related primarily to the use of law enforcement to manage social problems previously handled by other means. Such problems include mental illness and drug abuse.

Violent offenders in the district are sentenced to prison terms more than six years longer than the national average, and the actual time served is nearly five years longer, the study found.

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