Wisconsin Leads Nation in Imprisonment of Black Adults: Report

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A new report, authored by the Sentencing Project has found that Wisconsin imprisons Black residents at a higher rate than any other state in the country, reports the Wausau Pilot & Review. One of every 36 Black Wisconsin adults is in prison, the report found. Black people comprise 42 percent of the Wisconsin prison population, but just 6 percent of the state’s population.

Nationwide, Black Americans are imprisoned at nearly five times the rate of white Americans, the report found, and in Wisconsin, the ratio is even higher: Nearly 12 times the rate. The report cites pervasive racial bias across the criminal justice system. It notes that Black Americans face disproportionate arrest rates and factors that can lead to longer prison terms — including a greater likelihood of being charged as a habitual offender and more time spent in jail awaiting trial. Milwaukee County Supervisor Ryan Clancy said governments “overinvest” in policing and punitive measures “rather than the systems and programs we know will make us safer and (give us) better places to live.” The report also found that states in the northeast and upper Midwest showed the greatest racial disparities in their prison systems.

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