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Report Challenges Criminal Justice System to Question Black Imprisonment

Blacks in the U.S. are disproportionately imprisoned more than their white counterparts, a study released by The Sentencing Project finds. In the report, “The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons,” researchers found that African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at a rate that is 5.1 times the imprisonment of whites.

In New Jersey, Iowa, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin, the disparity is more than 10 to 1. The study suggests several factors in the criminal justice system that may explain why Blacks are more likely to be jailed. “The particular drivers of disparity may be related to policy, offending, implicit bias, or some combination,” the report states. “Regardless of the causes, however, the simple fact of these disparities should be disturbing given the consequences for individuals and communities.”

According to researchers, racial disparities in incarceration can arise from a high rate of Black incarceration, a low rate of white incarceration, or a varying combination of circumstances.



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