The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution states (in part):
No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Whenever I read an article decrying the unequal rates of imprisonment among the races (never among the sexes, for some reason), I perceive that the author is attempting to argue that the laws have an illegal and immoral disparate impact. Locking up more blacks than whites for criminal offenses, in this reading, is inherently racist.
What isn’t usually considered is the rate of victimhood among the races.
It is obvious that blacks are, by far, much more victimized by criminals* than whites are in the United States. It is also obvious that, by far, most criminal acts are perpetrated against the same race as the criminal.
A neutral reading of the constitution would imply that laws forbidding crime and punishing criminals are meant to protect the victims of crime and not the duly processed criminals.
Therefore, given the principle of disparate impact, it is unconstitutional for the United States federal government or the governments of the states, to direct the provision of justice so that one race is disproportionately represented among the victims of federal and state crimes.
The criminal justice system in the United States is insufficiently protecting black citizens’ rights by insufficiently punishing black criminals.
*(And no, it isn’t because of the drug war.)