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Source — New York Times

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USA : the stain of racism in New York’s prisons

New Yorkers are grimly familiar with state prison horror stories featuring guards who beat and torture inmates, knowing that their union will shield them from punishment and that district attorneys in towns dominated by prisons will look the other way.

But wanton brutality is only one aspect of a prison system in which there is little respect for the rule of law or human rights. A powerful investigation by The Times this week reveals a depth of racial bias against minority inmates in New York state prisons that should be the subject of a federal investigation, if the state government, led by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, cannot move quickly to address these problems. It has long been known that black inmates assigned to prisons in the overwhelmingly white northern parts of New York were subject to racial threats and abuse from virtually the moment they stepped through the door. In many cases, this comes in the form of punishment for minor rule-breaking. Clearly, not enough attention has been paid to racial bias. The Times’s review of nearly 60,000 disciplinary cases from the system found plain evidence of discrimination.

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