The problem of incarceration and racial injustice in the united states

There were 2, black male prisoners with sentences over one year perblack male residents in the United States, and a total ofblack male sentenced prisoners in the United States as of December 31, This compares to 1, Hispanic male prisoners perHispanic male residents, and white male prisoners perwhite male residents in the United States at that time. Black males between the ages of 18 and 19 had a rate of imprisonment

The problem of incarceration and racial injustice in the united states

Less discussed but just as important is the shocking racial disparity in where those prisons are built. Sadly, as Rachel Gandy recently reviewed in her analysis of the racial and ethnic disparities between incarcerated people and the people who staff the prisonsthe fact that building prisons in rural areas makes it difficult to recruit appropriate numbers of Black and Latino staff has been well known — and entirely ignored — since long before the prison boom began.

This report reviews the magnitude of the gulf between the incarcerated population and the surrounding counties; finding counties where incarcerated Blacks outnumber free Blacks, and 20 counties where incarcerated Latinos outnumber free Latinos.

In many counties, the disparity is particularly stark. We found counties where the portion of the county that was Black was at least 10 times smaller than the portion of the prison that was Black. For Latinos, we found 41 counties where the portion of the county that was Latino was at least 10 times smaller than the portion of the prison that was Latino.

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These counties are spread throughout a majority of the states: These maps shows where Blacks or Latinos are over-represented at least 10 times in the prison population compared to the surrounding county.

Many of the states without any counties marked on this map are states where counties are less relevant as a unit of analysis ie. Massachusetts and Rhode Island or where the Black or Latino population is very small and therefore excluded from our analysis ie.

For Latinos, the over-representation is significant in most states but is less dramatic than for Blacks. In short, one of the reasons many states struggle to hire sufficient numbers of Black and Latino staff is because the prisons themselves were built in places that Blacks and Latinos do not live.

But this large-scale transfer of Black and Latino people to areas demographically very different than their homes has even larger effects thanks to a unique quirk in the federal Census that counts incarcerated people as if they were willing residents of the county that contains the correctional facility for redistricting purposes.

The racial inequities that result from the practice of prison gerrymandering have been well documented in states like New York and Wisconsin, but as this report makes clear, they are not alone. The transfer of Black and Latino incarcerated people to communities very different than their own is a national problem with implications for prison gerrymandering as well as family visitation policies and reentry.

About the Prison Policy Initiative and the authors The non-profit, non-partisan Prison Policy Initiative produces cutting edge research to expose the broader harm of mass criminalization, and then sparks advocacy campaigns to create a more just society.

Inthe organization launched the national movement against prison gerrymandering with the publication of Importing Constituents: Prisoners and Political Clout in New York addressing how using Census Bureau counts of incarcerated people as residents of the prison location diluted the votes of state residents who did not live next to prisons in violation of the state constitutional definition of residence.

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Methodology This goal of this report was to quantify the magnitude of the difference of the racial and ethnic makeup between the people incarcerated in a given county and the actual residents of that county. For this data, we took advantage of a unique quirk in Census Bureau methodology that counts incarcerated people as residents of the county that contains the correctional facilities.

While we make all of our data available in an appendix, we applied two filters to the county graphs and tables above to remove from the data what we considered noise: Counties where the percentage of the total population that was incarcerated was less than 1.

The Prison Policy Initiative discovered for our report, Too big to ignore: How counting people in prisons distorted Census that this was an effective filter to remove counties that contained very large jails but no significant state or federal prisons.

We wanted to separate out jails because jails tend to confine people for short periods very close to home so these facilities will have much smaller and much less relevant disparities between the facility and the surrounding county.

This initial filtering process reduced the number of analyzed counties to Note the unit of analysis in this analysis was counties, not facilities. We estimate that these counties contained 1, prisons.

Racial Justice | Equal Justice Initiative

In both cases, we wanted to avoid highlighting counties with small populations of non-incarcerated people of color and only slightly larger numbers of incarcerated people of color.

While this analysis removes many counties from our analysis — and in particular removes many counties in western states where the Black population is relatively small — it allows us to clearly show that there is a very large number of counties where substantial numbers of people of color are being moved by the prison system to communities very different from their homes.

The resulting number of possible combinations is quite high 6but as the Census Bureau publishes very few data tables that allow one to easily access the race and ethnicity of the incarcerated population, the choices available for use were actually quite limited.

We used data that provided for 9 combinations, of which we used only 3 marked in bold: White alone American Indian or Alaska Native alone Asian alone Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander alone Some other race alone Hispanic or Latinos 8 White alone not Hispanic or Latino 9 Limited in this way by the types of data available for the incarcerated population, we chose to use Census tables that reflected the non-incarcerated population in exactly the same way.

Data sources We used the following data tables from the U.

The problem of incarceration and racial injustice in the united states

Census in our analysis: White population White alone non-Hispanic population: Black population Black alone population: Incarcerated White population White alone, not-Hispanic: Incarcerated Black population Black alone: For the ratios, we simply found the portion of the incarcerated population that was of a given race or ethnicity and divided this by the portion of a county that was of a given race or ethnicity.

The ratio of over-representation of Black people in prison would be 0.

The Racial Geography of Mass Incarceration | Prison Policy Initiative

Recommended readings This report is far from the first or last word on the topic of the political, racial and economic geography of mass incarceration.

Some of our favorite articles on these topics are: The Collateral Consequences of Mass Imprisonment, ed.At the same time, women are the fastest growing incarcerated population in the United States.

‪There are twice as many people sitting in local jails awaiting trial and presumed innocent than in the entire federal prison system.

America has the highest incarceration rate in the world, outstripping even Russia, Cuba, Rwanda, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Though America is home to only about one-twentieth of the world’s.

This collection of facts highlights the disparate impact that the criminal justice system has on people of color. the United States cannot afford According to a report on racial. Racial profiling is a longstanding and deeply troubling national problem despite claims that the United States has entered a “post-racial era.” It occurs every day, in cities and towns across the country, when law enforcement and private security target people of color for humiliating and often frightening detentions, interrogations, and searches without evidence of criminal activity and.

The requirements of a malign intent as well as a racially disparate effect for a finding of racial discrimination in United States problem of racially disparate incarceration .

Annual estimates of resident population by sex, race, and Hispanic origin for the United States, states and counties: April 1, to July 1, Washington, DC: U.S.

Census Bureau. * = Bureau of Justice statistics data augmented with state annual report data for this state.

Racial inequality in the United States - Wikipedia