The Incarceration rate has nearly quadrupled since the United States declared war on drugs and along with it, racial disparities. Researchers at Virginia Tech say incarceration rates for black Americans are more than six times higher than those for whites…and there is lingering bias…but that does not explain the exponentially higher rates. They say incarceration itself, is like an infectious disease. But they discovered something else. The average sentence for a drug conviction for Whites is 14 months. For Blacks, 17 months, and that apparently has dramatic consequences. The study shows harsher penalties have made criminal activity and racial disparity worse. The Tech researchers say they hope their model will give law enforcement, and ultimately legislators, another tool to understand why America has the highest prison population in the world.