Sanders calls racial inequality in incarceration rates is "one of the greatest tragedies of our time"

Whites and blacks "do marijuana" at the same rate, but blacks jailed at a much higher one

By Scott Eric Kaufman
February 12, 2016 7:42AM (UTC)
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Bernie Sanders (PBS)

When the debate turned to queries by undecided Facebook voters, the questions became slightly more interesting, addressing first the problem of African-American male incarceration rates in Wisconsin and America.

Sanders discussed the fact that whites and blacks both "do marijuana" at the same rate, but that blacks are jailed at a much higher rate than their white counterparts, in part because of systemic racism in police departments that are both militarized and fail to represent the communities in which they operate.


Clinton agreed, saying that "the era of mass incarceration" needs to come to an end, but that racial inequality in housing and jobs need to be addressed as well. Sanders agreed with that sentiment as well, adding that the mass incarceration "leaves children at home without a dad or a mother."

He argued that race relations would be better under a Sanders administration are because minority children would have access to jobs and education they don't currently have. Those children "will end up in the productive economy, where we want them."

Watch the entire debate below via PBS NewsHour.


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at

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Bernie Sanders Elections 2016 Hillary Clinton Mass Incarceration Race