Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast series Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by a man you may know from the recent Netflix documentary Wormwood, David Rudovsky. David Rudovsky has been an attorney in the Philadelphia area for the past 50 years and a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania for the past 30. David is here today to talk about racial inequality in our criminal justice system and what is being done about it.
David Rudovsky and Aaron start the episode by discussing a report from the U.S. Sentencing Commission that recently came out that outlines some of the disparities in arrest rates and sentencing between black individuals and white individuals. David explains the report shows black individuals receive on average a 19% longer sentence than white individuals and even when you control for all other factors and leave it up to judge’s discretion sentences are still 15-17% longer.
During the episode David and Aaron talk about how certain crimes are punished harder than other similar crimes. For example, possession of “crack” is punished 10 times harder than someone being charged with possession of cocaine because crack is seen as a “black drug”.
Along with racial biases and racial disparities in our legal system, we also see a system that works against those in a lower socio-economic class. Our system requires people to pay bail to get themselves out of jail during the time between arrest and trial.
Those individuals in a lower socio-economic class are less likely to be able to afford the bail and are forced to spend time in jail, even if they’ve committed no crime. Because of this, they become more affected because they lose their jobs, are unable to pay their bills and support their families, and have to explain, when they do get out, why they have been out of work for an extended period of time.
This is a fascinating episode with an incredibly knowledgeable individual. Join Aaron Freiwald and David Rudovsky for a great discussion about racial disparities in our legal system.
Remember to tune in every Friday for new episodes of Good Law | Bad Law!
Host: Aaron Freiwald
Guest: David Rudovsky
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