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IncarcerationTrendsinAmerica
From1980to2008,thenumberofpeopleincarceratedinAmericaquadrupledfromroughly
500,000to2.3millionpeople
Today,theUSis5%oftheWorldpopulationandhas25%ofworldprisoners.
Combiningthenumberofpeopleinprisonandjailwiththoseunderparoleorprobation
supervision,1inevery31adults,or3.2percentofthepopulationisundersomeformofcorrectional
control
RacialDisparitiesinIncarceration
AfricanAmericansnowconstitutenearly1millionofthetotal2.3millionincarceratedpopulation
AfricanAmericansareincarceratedatnearlysixtimestherateofwhites
Together,AfricanAmericanandHispanicscomprised58%ofallprisonersin2008,eventhough
AfricanAmericansandHispanicsmakeupapproximatelyonequarteroftheUSpopulation
AccordingtoUnlockingAmerica,ifAfricanAmericanandHispanicswereincarceratedatthesame
ratesofwhites,today'sprisonandjailpopulationswoulddeclinebyapproximately50%
Oneinsixblackmenhadbeenincarceratedasof2001.Ifcurrenttrendscontinue,oneinthree
blackmalesborntodaycanexpecttospendtimeinprisonduringhislifetime
1in100AfricanAmericanwomenareinprison
Nationwide,AfricanAmericansrepresent26%ofjuvenilearrests,44%ofyouthwhoaredetained,
46%oftheyouthwhoarejudiciallywaivedtocriminalcourt,and58%oftheyouthadmittedtostate
prisons(CenteronJuvenileandCriminalJustice).
DrugSentencingDisparities
About14millionWhitesand2.6millionAfricanAmericansreportusinganillicitdrug
5timesasmanyWhitesareusingdrugsasAfricanAmericans,yetAfricanAmericansaresentto
prisonfordrugoffensesat10timestherateofWhites
AfricanAmericansrepresent12%ofthetotalpopulationofdrugusers,but38%ofthosearrestedfor
drugoffenses,and59%ofthoseinstateprisonforadrugoffense.
AfricanAmericansservevirtuallyasmuchtimeinprisonforadrugoffense(58.7months)aswhites
doforaviolentoffense(61.7months).(SentencingProject)
ContributingFactors
Innercitycrimepromptedbysocialandeconomicisolation
Crime/drugarrestrates:AfricanAmericansrepresent12%ofmonthlydrugusers,butcomprise32%

ofpersonsarrestedfordrugpossession
"Gettoughoncrime"and"warondrugs"policies
Mandatoryminimumsentencing,especiallydisparitiesinsentencingforcrackandpowdercocaine
possession
In2002,blacksconstitutedmorethan80%ofthepeoplesentencedunderthefederalcrackcocaine
lawsandservedsubstantiallymoretimeinprisonfordrugoffensesthandidwhites,despitethatfact
thatmorethan2/3ofcrackcocaineusersintheU.S.arewhiteorHispanic
"ThreeStrikes"/habitualoffenderpolicies
ZeroTolerancepoliciesasaresultofperceivedproblemsofschoolviolenceadverseaffectonblack
children.
35%ofblackchildrengrades712havebeensuspendedorexpelledatsomepointintheirschool
careerscomparedto20%ofHispanicsand15%ofwhites
EffectsofIncarceration
Jailreducesworktimeofyoungpeopleoverthenextdecadeby2530percentwhencomparedwith
arrestedyouthswhowerenotincarcerated
Jailsandprisonsarerecognizedassettingswheresociety'sinfectiousdiseasesarehighly
concentrated
Prisonhasnotbeenprovenasarehabilitationforbehavior,astwothirdsofprisonerswillreoffend
ExorbitantCostofIncarceration:IsitWorthIt?
About$70billiondollarsarespentoncorrectionsyearly
Prisonsandjailsconsumeagrowingportionofthenearly$200billionwespendannuallyonpublic
safety

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