AUGUST 23, 2004 - Posted at 7:24 a.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Saying that the criminal justice system unfairly punishes black defendants, community and religious leaders are pushing for a legislative study of the issue.
A group of almost 100 gathered outside the state Capitol yesterday. Many carried signs with the number 15 over the number 45 to indicate that, while 15 percent of Arkansans are black, blacks make up 45 percent of the state's prison population.
Senator Hank Wilkens of Pine Bluff says he will push legislation in the 2005 legislative session, which begins in January, to track sentencing by race.