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The following tables present state rates of incarceration according to their rank. Table 1 shows how racial disparities play out at the state level. The states with the highest rate of African American (male and female) incarceration are Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Vermont, Iowa, and Idaho.

Posted on October 28th, 2016 by in ,

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Race in the United States criminal justice system - Wikipedia

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Racial disparities in incarceration can arise from a variety of circumstances. These might include a high rate of black incarceration, a low rate of white incarceration, or varying combinations. We note that the states with the highest ratio of disparity in imprisonment are generally those in the northeast or upper Midwest, while Southern states tend to have lower ratios. The low Southern ratios are generally produced as a result of high rates of incarceration for all racial groups. For example, Arkansas and Florida both have a black/white ratio of imprisonment considerably below the national average of 5.1:1 (3.8:1 and 3.6:1, respectively). Yet both states incarcerate African Americans at higher than average rates, 18% higher in Arkansas and 15% higher in Florida. But these rates are somewhat offset by the particularly high white rates, 61% higher than the national average in Arkansas and 63% higher in Florida.

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criminal justice system and how it deals with deviant acts

As described above, prosecutors are more likely to charge African Americans under habitual offender laws compared to whites with similar offense histories. The impact is that African Americans are not only more likely to go to prison but are more likely to receive longer sentences.53) Today one in nine people in prison is serving a life sentence while many other countries’ use of life sentences is quite rare. Nearly half of lifers are black and one in six is Hispanic.

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A third explanation for persistent racial disparities in state prisons lies in the structural disadvantages that impact people of color long before they encounter the criminal justice system. In this view, disparities observed in imprisonment are partially a function of disproportionate social factors in African American communities that are associated with poverty, employment, housing, and family differences.43) Other factors, not simply race, account for differences in crime across place. Criminologists Ruth Peterson and Lauren Krivo note that African Americans comprise a disproportionate share of those living in poverty-stricken neighborhoods and communities where a range of socio-economic vulnerabilities contribute to higher rates of crime, particularly violent crime.44) In fact, 62% of African Americans reside in highly segregated, inner city neighborhoods that experience a high degree of violent crime, while the majority of whites live in “highly advantaged” neighborhoods that experience little violent crime.45) Their work builds on earlier research focused on the harms done to the African American community by disparate living environments, and extends this knowledge to evidence that this actually produces social problems including crime.

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The Color of Justice - Constitutional Rights Foundation

Conversely, in the states with the highest degree of disparity, this is often produced by a higher than average black rate, but a relatively low white rate.12) As seen in Table 3 below, seven of the ten states with the greatest racial disparity also have high black incarceration rates, while all have lower than average white rates. In New Jersey, for example, blacks are incarcerated at a rate twelve times higher than whites even though the black incarceration rate is 24% below the national average. This comes about through its particularly low incarceration of whites: 94 per 100,000, or one-third of the national average (275).