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Study Examines Race and Arrests

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- A new report on race and arrests is sparking discussion around the nation. It shows that a large percentage of black and Hispanic males are in jail by their mid-twenties.

49 percent of black males, 44 percent of Hispanic males, and 38 percent of white males are behind bars by the time they are 23 years old, according to the Journal of Crime and Delinquency.

For Dedric Doolin, one specific case comes to mind when speaking on race and arrests. It involves an 18 year old, who was playing basketball with friends one day.

One of the guys he was with took a basketball unbeknownst to him, he gets charged along with the other guys for taking this basketball, Doolin said. The lawyer tells him he's looking at 10 years.

Situations like that are why the local NAACP President is concerned, but not surprised, by the recent report on race and arrests.

Iowa has been disproportionately rated as far as incarceration of African American and people of color for years, Doolin said.

At the Henry Davison Youth Center, which is dedicated to keeping kids on the right path, the study comes as somewhat of a surprise.

It is stunning to me that it is so low in age, said director Tammy Mims. 23 [year olds] are still babies to me.

Mims says there are many factors, economic to educational, but a big part of it starts at home.

They don't have the family structure to say it's ok, you can go farther than I've gone.

For a growing child, she says that motivation can make the difference, and it's what they strive to provide.

Leaders say the family issues are only the beginning of the problem.

This is just a symptom to a much larger illness, said Ken Morris Jr., student equity manager with CRCSD.

Morris Jr. has been on both sides of the issue - as a student equity manager, and a victim of alleged discrimination by an officer while driving college students to a conference.

He had received calls of suspicious characters getting out of a white van. Morris said. We got into a verbal sparring match.

He says he appreciates the open dialogue caused by the study, but it'll take more than just talking.

I'm anxious to move the dialogue into action.
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