African American incarceration statistics

Sheila A. Murphy reached out to say she wanted to discuss her program regarding the “Returning Citizens” who had served time for one thing or the other. We were intrigued and begin looking into some of the disturbing statistics on Black Incarceration rates in America.

The US demographics is 63.7% non-Hispanic white, 12.2% black, 8.7% Hispanic white and 0.4% Hispanic black, according to the most recent census.

The criminal justice system in America holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 1,852 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S.

It should be noted that people of color are dramatically over-represented in the nation’s prisons and jails. These racial disparities are particularly stark for Blacks, who make up 40% of the incarcerated population despite representing under 13% of U.S residents.

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In a report by Nellis in The Guardian Paper, he found that in five states, the disparity rate was more than double the average. New Jersey had the highest, with a ratio of 12.2 black people to one white person in its prison system, followed by Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Vermont.

Overall, Oklahoma had the highest rate of black people incarcerated with 2,625 black inmates people per 100,000 residents. Oklahoma is 7.7% black.
Among black men in 11 states, at least 1 in 20 were in a state prison.
Hawaii, which is 2.5% black, had the lowest incarceration rate among black people (585 per 100,000), and the lowest ratio – 2.4 black Americans to 1 white – in its prisons.

To have a better view of this distorting data, it would make sense to look at one of the most populous nations in the world. India is a country of 1.2 Billion people, yet the country in total only has around 380,000 prisoners. In fact, there are more African American men incarcerated in the U.S. than the total prison populations in India, Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, Japan, Germany, Finland, Israel and England combined.

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The big picture

Looking at the big picture requires us to ask if it really makes sense to lock up 2.3 million people on any given day, hence giving this nation the dubious distinction of having the highest incarceration rate in the world.”
In regards to Immigrants and Undocumented Immigrants, the Department of Justice recently released its first set of data on the incarceration rates of undocumented immigrants ordered by President Trump on May 1st 2018. Of the 45,493 foreign-born inmates in the federal prison system made up of 188,658 inmates, the Justice Department said 3,939 are U.S. citizens.

According to the agency data, immigration orders have been issued for 54.2 percent — about 22,541 — of the remaining 41,554 incarcerated immigrants. Another 33.4 percent, about 13,886 inmates, are under investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for possible removal.

We are yet to examine the economic, social and financial impact this has on Black & Hispanic families. One out of every four women in the U.S. now has a loved one in prison. Most children are left to streets with poor education and limited financial support. As a result, they default to drugs, prostitution, gangs and what have you. This cycle creates generations on incarcerated males with a low sense of self-pride.

Although there programs out there to help returning citizens, there are just not enough to cover the loop-holes. So much more can be done and needs to be done. But one thing that needs immediate attention is prison/jail reforms & reliefs on sentencing guidelines.

Prison Policy Initiative
The Hill
Casey Grants
The Guardian
Mission to Mobilize

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