Analysis shows racial disparity in Florida sentencings


SARASOTA, Fla. – An analysis of Florida's criminal justice system shows that black defendants spend longer time behind bars than white defendants for the same types of crimes.

The analysis by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on Sunday shows that judges in nearly half the counties in Florida sentence blacks convicted of felony drug possession to more than double the time of whites. That's even when their backgrounds are the same.

The newspaper also says that a lack of diversity on the bench affects sentencing since white judges in Florida sentence black defendants to 20 percent more time on average for third-degree felonies than black judges.

Judges contacted by the Herald-Tribune denied discriminating by race.

Some shifted the blame to police officers and prosecutors.