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Crime

New report points to disparities among minorities in the Erie County Criminal Justice System

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WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
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A new report points to disparities among minorities in the Erie County criminal justice system.  Open Buffalo revealed results Tuesday calling it "alarming". 

The report points to high percentages of African American and Hispanic citizens being arrested and sent to prison in the county.

Open Buffalo leader Sam Magavern says a lack of jobs, troubles in education, poverty and segregation are too blame.

"The Buffalo Niagara metro area is the most segregated metros in the country,  where you have 80% of African Americans living in high poverty neighborhoods compared to only 10% of whites," noted Magavern.

Open Buffalo said it was inspired to conduct the study from the book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. 

This report indicates African Americans represent 14% of Erie County's population but 43% are arrested and 65% are sentenced to prison.  For Hispanics, who account of for less than 5% the population in the county, 7% are arrested an d more than 9% are in jail.

Open Buffalo said a lack of jobs, troubles in education, poverty and segregation are too blame.

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Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
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Rev. Eugene Pierce, Buffalo's NAACP with Buffalo leader Sam Magavern.

"I for one know there is no such things as 'Separate, but Equal'", said Reverend Eugene Pierce, Buffalo's NAACP.

Pastor James Giles, executive director of Back to Basics Ministries, is among the 13 agencies working with Open Buffalo.

Giles said, in his experience, whites arrested for minor offenses  -- such as being caught with marijuana -- tend to catch a break.

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Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
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Pastor James Giles, executive director of Back to Basics Ministries.

"I run a reentry program...and when I talk with my white counterparts, and ask them 'what happen to you' -- most of them say 'you know my breaks ran out'", said Giles.

Open Buffalo is calling for an intensive community-wide effort to identify disparities.