Maddow's Riveting Interview on How the Pardon System Blatantly Favors White People, Those With Connections

We know that in many ways the justice system is racially skewed, raciallybiased, and that in some states in particular (like Georgia) the legacy of institutionalized racism has not been wiped away. But there's another aspect of this system in which white privilege carries a measurable advantage--presidential pardons. 

This week, ProPublica released a series of damning reports that demonstrated this:

White criminals seeking presidential pardons over the past decade have been nearly four times as likely to succeed as minorities, a ProPublica examination has found.

Blacks have had the poorest chance of receiving the president's ultimate act of mercy, according to an analysis of previously unreleased records and related analysis of previously unreleased records and related data.

Current and former officials at the White House and Justice Department said they were surprised and dismayed by the racial disparities, which persist even when factors such as the type of crime and sentence are considered.

"I'm just astounded by those numbers," said Roger Adams, who served as head of the Justice Department's pardons office from 1998 to 2008. 

Another finding? Connection to a congressperson (even donation to a campaign) was a major factor in pardons. This is yet another example of how entrenched racism is connected to both political cronyism and the undue influence of money in our system of governance (heading towards oligarchy) all issues being brought to the forefront by Occupy Wall Street.

Last night, Rachel Maddow sat down and had a riveting discussion with Dafna Linzer, senior reporter for Pro Publica, about her findings--breaking down exactly how this happens and how it can be changed.

Watch below.

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AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at December 6, 2011, 5:23am

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