Daniel J. D’Amico is William Barnett Professor of Free Enterprise Studies and an Assistant Professor of Economics at Loyola University. He writes about the intersection of Austrian Economics, Public Choice Theory and New Institutional Economics and hisotrical and current trends in incarceration.

Fewer than 1 out of 100 Americans are imprisoned in the United States. But nearly one fourth of young black men are incarcerated in U.S. state and federal prisons. In fact, a young black man is more likely to be in jail than to get married or go to college.

Minorities are grossly overrepresented in U.S. prisons, and Prof. Daniel D’Amico argues that the root of the problem may lie with the criminal justice system itself. Laws about drug prohibition, for example, are supposed to be color blind. But people with different levels of wealth face different costs and benefits to participating in the drug trade. Prof. D’Amico says it’s time to admit that radical changes to the criminal justice system might be necessary and preferable to the status quo.

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