(City Journal) -- Hillary Clinton repeated her incessant lie last night that the criminal justice system is infected with “systemic racism.” Race “determines” how people are “treated in the criminal justice system,” she said. Blacks are “more likely [than whites] to be arrested, charged, convicted and incarcerated” for “doing the same thing.” Such a dangerous falsehood, should Clinton act on it as president, would result not just in misguided policies but in the continued delegitimation of the criminal justice system. That delegitimation, with its attendant hostility and aggression toward police officers, has already produced the largest one-year surge in homicides in urban areas in nearly a half-century.
Criminologists have tried for decades to prove that the overrepresentation of blacks in prison is due to criminal-justice racism. They have always come up short. They have been forced to the same conclusion as Michael Tonry in his book, Malign Neglect: “Racial differences in patterns of offending, not racial bias by police and other officials, are the principal reason that such greater proportions of blacks than whites are arrested, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned,” Tonry wrote. In 1997, criminologists Robert Sampson and Janet Lauritsen reviewed the massive literature on charging and sentencing. They found overwhelming evidence establishing that “large racial differences in criminal offending,” not racism, explained why more blacks were in prison proportionately than whites and for longer terms.