Thursday, January 01, 2009

Why the racial skew in prison populations?

America is chided worldwide for having the highest number of prisoners per capita (1 in 140), and the absolute highest number of people behind bars in the world (over 2 million people).

Wow. The U.S. accounts for 22 percent of prisoners worldwide, but holds only 4.6 percent of the world population. In wonder, is the prison population high because convicts don't want to leave their friends behind?

Many American convicts are reluctant to leave their friend behind

But there is also a racial skew with a disproportionate number of minorities in American jails.

Why is more than half the prison population minority? Hispanics and blacks make up only 25% of the USA population yet they constitute over 60% of the prison populations!

Could it be that institutional racism is responsible for this skew in prison populations? Consider these disturbing statistics:

- Nationally, 44 percent (about 800,000) of prison inmates are black even though blacks make up only 12.3 percent of the population.

- Over 18 percent of inmates (about 350,000) are Latino, but Hispanics make up only 12.6 percent of the population.

- One in nine USA black males ages 20 to 34 is behind bars

- Over 10 percent of the entire African-American male population in the United States aged 25 to 29 has been in prison at some time.

All these people in jail, so sad. . . .