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Bias

Recent data analyses on jail incarceration—taken from Vera’s Incarceration Trends tool—reveal that although significant racial disparities still exist between black and white jail incarceration rates, incarceration rates for black people are declining, while rates for white people are rising. This report dives into the data on black and white incarceration trends from 1990 to 2013, and poses several questions for further exploration that might explain why these rates are shifting. However, the report also argues that we need more data to fully understand the causes and consequences of racial disparities in incarceration—and to begin enacting more race-conscious jail reduction efforts. 

Personal experiences with racial discrimination are common for black Americans. But certain segments within this group – most notably, those who are college educated or male – are more likely to say they’ve faced certain situations because of their race, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

There might be a solution to implicit racial bias, argues Rhonda Magee: cultivating moment-to-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, and surroundings.

We are each reminded almost daily of the way that race intersects with judgment in our daily lives, leading to bad decisions and over-reactions—which in the context of criminal justice can have deadly consequences. As the story of my encounter with the black deliveryman indicates, none of us is immune: Black people may be as conditioned as anyone else by stereotypes and unconscious expectations. 

Is there a solution? Research shows that mindfulness practices help us focus, give us greater control over our emotions, and increase our capacity to think clearly and act with purpose. Might mindfulness assist police and other public servants in minimizing the mistaken judgments that lead to such harms? Might they help the rest of us—professors and deliverymen alike—minimize our biases as well?

Ted Talk Video (17:23 minutes)

The human brain is a remarkable achievement in evolution. Unfortunately, the brain activity that kept the human species alive for millions of years is the same brain activity that keeps us from achieving equality today. Author, speaker and CEO, Valerie Alexander, explains how the human brain instinctively reacts when encountering the unexpected, like saber-toothed tigers or female tech execs, and proposes that if we have the courage to examine our own behavior when faced with the unfamiliar, we can take control of our expectations, and by doing so, change the world.

McCombs School of Business Video (8:09 minutes)

Implicit bias exists when people unconsciously hold attitudes toward others or associate stereotypes with them. For free teaching and learning resources related to this topic, visit https://ethicsunwrapped.utexas.edu/video/implicit-bias

Data is fundamental to the modern world. From economic development, to healthcare, to education and public policy, we rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But because so much data fails to take into account gender, because it treats men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems. And women pay tremendous costs for this bias, in time, money, and often with their lives.

What begins as an engaging way to include diverse groups under a unique corporate umbrella now does the exact opposite.

Creating the right company culture is critical when building a company that your employees, customers and shareholders love. By identifying and empowering your organization's own unique attributes and quirks -- and welcoming a diversity of people from all sorts of backgrounds-- you create a powerful message that distinguishes you from the competition.

Validated Risk Assessment Tools Are Fairer and Safer than Money Bail And Can Protect Against Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System

The current system of using money bail to determine who is released and who is detained before a criminal trial has been well documented to be racially and economically biased (see Racial Disparity and Money Bail, p. 2). The commonsense alternative—systems that incorporate validated pretrial risk assessment tools as the foundation of pretrial decision making—can substantially reduce the disparate impact that people of color experience during this critical stage of the criminal justice process. However, since 2014, when then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder cautioned against using risk assessment in criminal sentencing, questions about race and pretrial risk assessment have been a prominent discussion point.

Racism makes our economy worse -- and not just in ways that harm people of color, says public policy expert Heather C. McGhee. From her research and travels across the US, McGhee shares startling insights into how racism fuels bad policymaking and drains our economic potential -- and offers a crucial rethink on what we can do to create a more prosperous nation for all. "Our fates are linked," she says. "It costs us so much to remain divided."

The Sentencing Project submitted a report to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance

The United States criminal justice system is the largest in the world. At yearend 2015, over 6.7 million individuals) were under some form of correctional control in the United States, including 2.2 million incarcerated in federal, state, or local prisons and jails.) The U.S. is a world leader in its rate of incarceration, dwarfing the rate of nearly every other nation.)

Such broad statistics mask the racial disparity that pervades the U.S. criminal justice system, and for African Americans in particular. African Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, and they are more likely to experience lengthy prison sentences. African-American adults are 5.9 times as likely to be incarcerated than whites and Hispanics are 3.1 times as likely.) As of 2001, one of every three black boys born in that year could expect to go to prison in his lifetime, as could one of every six Latinos—compared to one of every seventeen white boys.) Racial and ethnic disparities among women are less substantial than among men but remain prevalent.)

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