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University of Michigan Law School

2012

Crimes

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

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Systemic Racial Bias And Rico's Application To Criminal Street And Prison Gangs, Jordan Blair Woods Jan 2012

Systemic Racial Bias And Rico's Application To Criminal Street And Prison Gangs, Jordan Blair Woods

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Article presents an empirical study of race and the application of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to criminal street and prison gangs. A strong majority (approximately 86%) of the prosecutions in the study involved gangs that were affiliated with one or more racial minority groups. All but one of the prosecuted White-affiliated gangs fell into three categories: international organized crime groups, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and White supremacist prison gangs. Some scholars and practitioners would explain these findings by contending that most criminal street gangs are comprised of racial minorities. This Article challenges and problematizes this ...