Trends in Correctional Control by Race and Sex

Link to Full Report

"American prison populations have long been characterized by racial and ethnic disparities. U.S. Census Bureau data on incarcerated persons from 1870 through 1980 show that black incarceration rates ranged from three to nine times those of whites, depending upon the decade and region of the country.1 According to Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports over the past 40 years, black imprisonment rates ranged from about six to about eight times those of whites. 

In recent years, racial disparities in imprisonment have decreased. BJS reports have drawn attention to the trend, showing that since the mid-2000s, black and Hispanic incarceration rates have fallen faster than those for whites.3 These changes also have been noted by media,4by advocacy organizations such as The Sentencing Project, and by the National Research Council. 

This report updates and advances earlier presentations of data on disparities."

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