Chaquanzha Stephenson

Chaquanzha Stephenson

University of New Hampshire

Political Science


Mentor: Dr. Charles Putnam, UNH JusticeWorks

How Does Sentencing Policy or Law Affect Persons of Different Race, Ethnicity, and Gender?

In 2006 there were 1.5 million people incarcerated in a state or federal prisons in the United States; moreover, an estimated 4.5 million Americans have been imprisoned at some point in their lives (U.S Department of Justice, 2006). Research shows that there is disproportionate sentencing and imprisonment in the US (Legacy Reports, 2000), much of which relates in some way to the possession, use, and or trafficking of drugs. Further, on the international front Ghana is signatory to the four United Nations Conventions and Protocols on drugs. The Ghana Narcotics Control Board has international obligations under these conventions, the infringement of which would result in sanctions. Ghana in its bid to fight illicit drug trafficking enacted a parent law to control illicit drug traffic, cultivation, and use.

This study is a comparative legal analysis of the national drug laws, and the court sentencing that result from violations of such laws within the United States and Ghana. The project will examine 1) the similarities and differences of the laws between the two countries; 2) the race, ethnic, and/or gender groups that may be impacted by drug sentencing; and 3) the impact of any disproportionate sentencing and the similarities and differences of such impact between the two countries. The value of this research is that it offers Ghana, as a developing nation, a benchmark for assessing the impact of its effort to curb drug use and trafficking among various groups of its population.



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