Obama urges reform of criminal justice system biased against minorities

Updated: 2015-07-15 10:47


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WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama on Tuesday called for swift reforms to the US criminal justice system which he described as "a source of inequity" that affects the African-American and Hispanic communities in the country.

"By just about every measure, the life chances for black and Hispanic youth still lag far behind those of their white peers," Obama said at the annual national convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Philadelphia, noting that the legacy of the US past history of slavery and segregation and structural inequalities continued to haunt the country.

When it comes to the criminal justice system, Obama said minorities, especially the African-Americans and Latinos, were discriminated against due to their race.

"In too many places, black boys and black men, Latino boys and Latino men experience being treated differently under the law," said Obama. "African-Americans are more likely to be arrested. They are more likely to be sentenced to more time for the same crime."

The issue of mass incarceration against the African-American communities has long been referred to as one of the main reasons that causes perpetual poverty of the communities.

According to official data, African-Americans and Latinos make up 30 percent of the US population, but they make up 60 percent of the population in prison.

While one in 214 white men is currently imprisoned, about one in every 35 African-American men is now in prison, said Obama, adding that about one in nine African-American kids has a parent in prison.