Incarceration Trends In America

Powerful Essays
Incarceration Trends in America

DeVry University

Abstract
African Americans make up a curiously large portion of the incarcerated individuals in the United States. They are being incarcerated at a faster rate than those of other backgrounds such as Whites and Hispanics. Even though they make up a smaller part of the United States’ population, African Americans as well as Hispanics, comprise more than half of all prisoners in America. This is clearly a disproportionate racial composition. The factors contributing to this occurrence must be analyzed and evaluated. Perhaps this trend is inevitable due to certain conditions however; maybe these conditions can be altered. Therefore, upon investigating the causes of this incarceration trend, solutions must be made to this fix this disparity.

African Americans make up almost one million of the 2.3 million people incarcerated in America. They are being incarcerated at a rate of about six times than that of White people. Together with Hispanics, African Americans comprise approximately 58% of prisoners in the United States even though they make up only about a quarter of the United States population. If African Americans and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rate as Whites, today’s prison population would decrease by approximately fifty percent. As of 2001, one in six black males were incarcerated. If these trends continue, one in three black males born today will spend time in prison during his lifetime (King & Mauer, 2007). The state of Wisconsin apparently has the highest percentage in the country of African American males incarcerated. More specifically, about one in eight of the black men of working age in this state are currently in state prisons. Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s biggest city appears to be the hometown to the majority of the state’s black male prison population. Due to this, there is a large population of basically



References: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Black or African American Populations. Retrieved March 24, 2014 from http://www.cdc.gov/minorityhealth/populations/remp/black.html#Demographics Borjas, G.J., Grogger, J, & Hanson, G.H. (2009). Immigration and the Economic Status of African-American Men. Retrieved March 29, 2014 from http://irps.ucsd.edu/assets/027/9473.pdf Demby, G. (2013). Why Does Wisconsin Lock Up More Black Men Than Any Other State. Retrieved March 24, 2014 from http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2013/04/24/178817911/wisconsin-locks-up-more-of-its-black-men-than-any-other-state-study-finds Katzen A.L. (2013). African American Men’s Health and Incarceration: Access to Care Upon Reentry and Eliminating Invisible Punishments. Berkley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice, 26. Retrieved March 29, 2014 from http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1291&context=bglj King R. S., & Mauer, M. (2007). Uneven Justice: State Rates of Incarceration by Race and Ethnicity. The Sentencing Project Research for Advocacy for Reform. Retrieved March 24, 2014 from http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/rd_stateratesofincbyraceandethnicity.pdf National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. (n.d.). Criminal Justice Fact Sheet. Retrieved March 24, 2014 from http://www.naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-fact-sheet Seitles, M. (1996). The Perpetuation of Residential Racial Segregation in America: Historical Discrimination, Modern Forms of Exclusion, and Inclusionary Remedies. Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law. Retrieved March 24, 2014 from http://dev.law.fsu.edu/journals/landuse/Vol141/seit.htm Thompson, V. S., & Bazile, A. (n.d.). African American Attitude Toward Domestic Violence and DV Assistance. Retrieved March 29, 2014 from https://www.musc.edu/vawprevention/research/attitudesdv.shtml

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