The Justice Department will begin collecting racial data about stops, searches, and arrests as part of an effort to reduce racial bias in the criminal justice system, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday.
According to Holder, a recent study found half of African-American men had been arrested at least once by the age of 23. Further, he said, in 2012 black men were 6 times and Latino men 2.5 times more likely to end up in prison than white men.
“This overrepresentation of young men of color in our criminal justice system is a problem we must confront — not only as an issue of individual responsibility but also as one of fundamental fairness, and as an issue of effective law enforcement,” Holder said in a video message. “Racial disparities contribute to tension in our nation generally and within communities of color specifically, and tend to breed resentment towards law enforcement that is counterproductive to the goal of reducing crime.”