Back to top

Sakala, Leah

"Social science research has time and again come to the robust conclusion that exposure to the criminal justice system has profound and intergenerational negative effects on communities that experience disproportionate incarceration rates. It is imperative that we are able to measure the extent to which the criminal justice system disparately impacts our communities." You can find this information easily by referring to this briefing. It does an excellent job in synthesizing the information that is known about the disproportion of incarcerated minorities in the United States at the state level. In addition to incarceration rates by race/ethnicity, the following statistics (if available) are provided for each state and the U.S. federal prison system for the period 1978-2012: the degree to which Whites are underrepresented in the particular state's prisons and jails; Hispanics are overrepresented; Blacks are overrepresented; American Indians are overrepresented; Native Hawaiians are overrepresented.

Breaking Down Mass Incarceration in the 2010 Census: State-by-State Incarceration Rates by Race/Ethnicity Cover

This is required reading for those people striving to reform the correctional system in the United States, criminology students, or anyone concerned with issues related to confinement. The focal point of this website is an excellent graphic illustrating how the incarceration rates for each individual U.S. state compare to those rates belonging to a wide range of nations (having total populations of at least 500,000 individuals). It definitively shows that the use of incarceration by individual states dwarfs the utilization of imprisonment around the world. "If we compare the incarceration rates of individual U.S. states and territories with that of other nations, for example, we see that 36 states and the District of Columbia have incarceration rates higher than that of Cuba, which is the nation with the second highest incarceration rate in the world … The two U.S. states that incarcerate the least are Maine and Vermont, but even those two states incarcerate far more than the United States' closest allies."

States of Incarceration: The Global Context 2016 Cover
Subscribe to Sakala, Leah