African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at a rate 5.1 times higher than the imprisonment of whites, says The Sentencing Project in a new analysis of data.
In five states, the disparity is more than 10 to 1: Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, Vermont, and Wisconsin. In twelve states, more than half of prison population is black: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Maryland, whose prison population is 72 percent African American, is the nation’s highest.
Among other findings: In eleven states, at least 1 in 20 adult black males is in prison. In Oklahoma, the state with the highest overall black incarceration rate, 1 in 15 black males 18 and older is in prison. States show much variation in the range of racial disparity, from a black/white ratio of 12.2 to in New Jersey to 2.4 to 1 in Hawaii. Latinos are imprisoned at a rate that is 1.4 times the rate of whites. Ethnic disparities between Latins and whites are particularly high in states such as Massachusetts (4.3 to 1), Connecticut (3.9 to 1), Pennsylvania (3.3 to 1), and New York (3.1 to 1).