Black Americans don’t make up the majority of the general population in any state, but a report found they made up more than half of the prison population in a dozen of them.
These states are Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, according to the new study. of the Sentencing Project released Wednesday.
The Sentencing Project is a nonprofit research group that promotes decarceration and criminal justice reform.
The group found that the disparity between black and white prison populations is greater than 9 to 1 in several states: California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey and Wisconsin. New Jersey leads the country in disparity in its incarceration rates, with a black / white ratio of over 12 to 1.
“Truly meaningful reforms of the criminal justice system cannot be accomplished without recognition of its racist foundations,” the report said.
The Sentencing Project also found that black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons nearly five times more than white Americans, while Latinxes are 1.3 times more likely than whites to be in a prison. ‘State.
Wisconsin leads the United States in black incarceration rates, as one in 36 black residents is in state prison.
The report made several recommendations to address racial and ethnic disparities in prisons, including eliminating mandatory minimum sentences and stopping arrests for minor drug offenses.
The researchers also encouraged lawmakers to draft crime bills to include an estimate of the policy’s impact on all demographic groups.
Racial bias in policing and incarceration became a major issue in 2020 following the death of George Floyd while in custody in Minneapolis. Hundreds of police reform bills have been passed across the country in the wake of Floyd’s murder, according to Politico.
In Congress, the House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act earlier this year. The legislation, which has yet to be voted on in the Senate, reportedly tackles racial discrimination and excessive use of force in law enforcement
Decarceration is also a growing trend, as nine states – Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont – have decreased their prison populations by 30% or more in recent years, according to the report. reporting.
“While prison population growth has slowed in most states due to sentencing reforms aimed at creating a more just and proportionate criminal justice system, differential treatment on the basis of race supports mass incarceration.” , said Ashley Nellis, senior research analyst at the association. in a report.
“Any reform effort to reduce our overreliance on imprisonment must also tackle these staggering racial and ethnic disparities head-on,” she added.