Black Women’s Rate of Imprisonment Has Fallen Sharply

Rates of imprisonment have been declining among African-Americans for over a decade. This trend began long before the recent decline in the overall size of the prison population. The change is mainly due to reduced black male incarceration because prisoners are overwhelmingly male.

The decline in African-American women’s rate of incarceration remain important though, both in absolute terms and also in terms of the white-black disparity in imprisonment. This chart from the Bureau of Justice Statistics is striking. African-American women’s rate of imprisonment has plunged, while at the same time the white women’s rate has increased. The gap between the two hasn’t been this small in a generation.

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Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College Lonon. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over ten thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

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