The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world: 655 people for every 100,000 are jailed. And among U.S. states, Texas ranks near the top at No. 7. This has been the case for years; what’s more, inmates are disproportionately black and Latino. But there are signs that things are changing.
A new report from the Council on Criminal Justice shows that racial disparities among those incarcerated are decreasing nationwide.
Thaddeus Johnson is a Ph.D. candidate in criminal justice and criminology at Georgia State University who co-authored the report. While rates are dropping, he says the problem shouldn’t exist in the first place. One of the largest reducions in disparities was among those incarcerated for drug crimes.
“We saw that the arrest rates, the prison admission rates and the imprisonment rates for blacks decreased dramatically,” Johnson says.
But he says blacks still, on the whole, serve more time in prison for the same crime as their white counterparts.
What you’ll hear in this segment:
– How local policing and criminal justice policies could explain the change
– Why changed attitudes about marijuana and crack cocaine could also contribute to the drop in racial disparity
– How the data show there are also fewer disparities among incarcerated women
Written by Caroline Covington.