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NATIONAL CENTER ON INSTITUTIONS AND ALTERNATIVES
RESEARCH AND PUBLIC POLICY REPORT
MAY 2001

Masking The Divide:
How Officially Reported Prison Statistics Distort the
Racial and Ethnic Realities of Prison Growth

Barry Holman

3125 Mt. Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22305
703-684-0373 • Fax: 703-684-6037
www.ncianet.org/ncia

MASKING THE DIVIDE:
How Officially Reported Prison Statistics Distort the Racial and Ethnic Realities of Prison Growth

Introduction
Academics, politicians and citizen groups are re-examining the choice of focusing so
many resources on criminal justice. In particular, the efficacy of incarceration as a
crime control measure has come under scrutiny.1 Just in the last year, a number of
studies have called into question the assumption that higher incarceration results in
lower levels of crime.2 Still others have focused on what has been termed the “racial
disparity” in criminal justice, particularly in prisons.3 The United States Department
of State, in its report to the United Nations Commission on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination (CERD), asserts that “[d]iscrimination in the criminal justice system” is
a “principal causative factor” hindering progress toward ending racial discrimination
in society.4

Findings from the 2000 census show that the racial/ethnic composition of American
society is rapidly changing. The Hispanic/Latino population grew by 60 percent
during the 1990s. 5 This brings the number of Hispanic/Latinos equal to the number
of African Americans. And according to the Census Bureau, more than 90% of
Hispanic/Latinos in American choose “white” as their race.

While the census has attempted to differentiate non Hispanics of any race from
Hispanic/Latinos, prison statistics have not followed suit. We do know that there are

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

2

over 200,000 Hispanic/Latinos in prison. But we also know that all of these men and
women are also counted as white, African American, Native American, Asian,
Hawaiian or of an undetermined race. We are left then without an accurate picture
of the racial/ethnic breakdown of prisoners.6

Given the demographic shift in the country’s population and the knowledge that
many Hispanic/Latino prisoners may be hidden in other racial categories, we
question whether “racial disparity” in the criminal justice system can be understood
in stark black and white differences. This study, the first of its kind, simultaneously
differentiates between whites, African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos under the
jurisdiction of correctional authorities. Because prison statistics don’t separate out
Hispanic/Latinos from other racial groups, we believe the scale of the racial divide in
American prisons is masked.

This study tracks the change in prison populations on a state-by-state basis between
1985 and 1997, adding Hispanic/Latinos to the analysis. We ask a number of
fundamental questions. What is the magnitude of racial and ethnic disparity in
incarceration when Hispanic/Latinos are separated from other racial groups? How
does this disparity differ from state to state? And how has it changed over time?

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Findings
A. Whites Systematically Overcounted in Prison Statistics
Without distinguishing between Hispanic/Latinos, whites and African Americans, the
number of white prisoners is significantly overstated. In 1985, we find white
prisoners over estimated by 22% or 47,276 more than their actual number because
thousands of Hispanic/Latinos were included in the count of white prisoners. Whites
were reported to be 52% of the total prison population in 1985 when they actually
constituted only 42.5%. Because very few Hispanic/Latinos identify African
American as their race, the reported percent of the total prison population that is
African American remains virtually unchanged, from 45.2% to 44.7%.
Hispanic/Latinos accounted for 11% of the prison population in 1985.
Figure 1: Reported vs. Actual Percent of Prison Population by Race,1985
60%
52%
50%
43%

45%

45%

40%

Reported
Act ual

30%
20%

White
Overcount
=47 276

11%

White prisoners
overestimated
when Hispanic/
Latinos are
counted
as whites.

10%
0%
White

African American

Hispanic/Latino

By 1997 (the most recent data available) the reported white percentage of the prison
population had dropped from the 52% in 1985 to 41%. Again, by accounting for the
Hispanic/Latino population being lumped in with whites in many states, we find an

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

4

inflated reporting of white incarceration. In fact, a 17% (74,074) over-count in the
number of whites occurs when Hispanic/Latino prisoners are distinguished from
whites. This brings the percent of the prison population that is white down to 35% —
meanwhile, white non Hispanics are 75% of the adult population. African Americans
are 47% of the prison population (11% of the adult population) and Hispanic/Latinos
increased to 16% of all prisoners (10% of the adult population).

Figure 2: Reported vs. Actual Percent of Prison Population by Race,1997

60%

48%

50%
40%

47%

41%

reported
actual

35%

30%
20%
10%

White
Overcount
= 74,074

16%

By 1997,
the number
of white
prisoners
had fallen
to just over
one-third of
the total
prison
population.

0%

W hite

African American

Hispanic/Latino

It is clear that each year the gap between the proportion of white prisoners and non
white prisoners is vastly understated because of how some states and the federal
government classify Hispanic/Latinos. As Figure 3 shows, the divide between white
and non white prisoners doubled over the twelve years examined.

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

5

Figure 3: Percent Difference Between Non White and White Prisoners

reported

4%

actual

1985

-15%

-19%

1997

-30%

-40%

-30%

-20%

-10%

0%

The divide
between whites
and non whites
doubled
between 1985
and 1997 when
Hispanic/Latino
prisoners were
accurately counted.
Non white prisoners
outnumber white
prisoners by 30%
in 1997

10%

With more than 47,000 Hispanic/Latino prisoners counted as white in 1985, it
appears that there are 4% more white prisoners (52%) than non white (48%). When
Hispanic/Latinos are taken from the white category the racial imbalance becomes a
gap, with non white prisoners outnumbering white prisoners by 15%. In 1997, what
was reported to be a 19% difference between whites (40.7% of the prison
population) and non whites (59.3%) is actually a much wider 30% difference when
Hispanic/Latinos are removed from the other racial categories. Between 1985 and
1997 the divide between the percent of the prison population that is white and non
white doubled from 15% to 30%.

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

6

B. Reporting of Race Statistics Masks the Truth Behind Bars.
Figure 4 provides data on race and ethnicity for eleven jurisdictions whose reporting
of prisoner race masks the reality of who is incarcerated (Appendix Tables 1 & 2
provide this analysis for all jurisdictions). Most of these states reported more than
1,000 Hispanic/Latino prisoners in 1997 and all categorized some or all
Hispanic/Latinos as white for at least one of the two years.

In New Jersey, the “official” percent of white prisoners was already very low at 34%
in 1985. Removing the state’s Hispanic/Latino prisoners from whites drops New
Jersey’s white prisoners to only 21% of the total 1985 prison population (that year
white non Hispanics were 80% of the state’s population). By 1997, the official count
had New Jersey’s white prisoners at 26% of the total population. However, by
subtracting Hispanic/Latinos, the white percent bottoms out at 18% while non whites
rise to 82% of prisoners. The divide between white and non white prisoners in New
Jersey is 64 percentage points -- in the state as a whole, whites outnumber non
whites 3 to 1. Between 1985 and 1997, while the New Jersey prison population was
tripling in size, the percent of white New Jersey prisoners dropped 3.5 points.

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

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Figure 4: Percent of Prison Population that is White, 1985 & 1997
1985
% White Prisoners

1997
%White Prisoners

STATE

Reported

Actual

White
Overcount

Reported

Actual

White
Overcount

New Jersey

33.9%

21.2%

12.7%

25.8%

17.7%

8.1%

New York

49.1%

27.1%

22.0%

42.9%

18.3%

24.6%

Texas

58.5%

38.0%

20.5%

27.6%

27.6%

0.0%

New Mexico

83.7%

34.2%

49.5%

83.0%

28.9%

54.1%

California

61.9%

35.8%

26.1%

30.1%

30.1%

0.0%

Federal

64.9%

41.7%

23.2%

58.0%

31.3%

26.7%

Florida

50.1%

43.1%

7.0%

42.5%

36.0%

6.5%

Colorado

77.9%

54.0%

23.9%

71.0%

45.0%

26.0%

Arizona

79.9%

55.4%

24.4%

79.6%

48.8%

30.8%

Utah

88.0%

70.9%

17.1%

86.2%

68.2%

18.0%

Idaho

93.6%

84.5%

9.1%

80.9%

68.8%

12.1%

New York reported that nearly one half (49%) of its prison population was white in
1985 when in fact the white non Hispanic population was closer to half of that (27%).
In 1997, New York reported only a slightly lower percentage of whites (43%) then it
had in 1985. The reality is that whites were actually less than one-fifth (18.3%) of
the state’s prison population, a 25% difference in the number of whites. This change
in the racial composition of prisons is even more pronounced in Arizona where in
both 1985 and 1997 it appears that 80% of the state’s prisoners are white. By
removing Hispanic/Latinos from the whites we find that in 1985 whites fall to 55% of
the prison population. In 1997, the difference between the reported and actual white
prisoner percentage drops 31 points from 80% to 49%. Similarly, Colorado reports

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

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in 1997 that 71% of its prison population is white. But by accounting for
Hispanic/Latinos this number is lowered 26 points to 45%. But without correctly
counting Hispanic/Latinos, the Mile High State appears to have a prison population
that is racially proportional to the overall state population.

Two states from Figure 4 can be examined for the effect that the change in the
process of recording and reporting prisoner race statistics has had. In 1985, Texas
and California counted Hispanic/Latino prisoners with other races. Texas’ white
prisoners were reported to be 58.5% of the population when they actually were 38%;
California’s white prisoners in 1985 were reported to be 62% of all prisoners when
they actually were 36%.

By 1997 these two states had changed the way they counted Hispanic/Latino
prisoners by placing them in the “other” category of the race table. For these two
states the reported white, African American and Hispanic/Latino figures do not need
adjusting. In Texas in 1997, whites accounted for 27.6% of the prison population,
ten percentage points lower than in 1985. In California whites shrunk to 30% of the
prison population. What must be remembered, however, is that using the reported
race numbers in 1985 for these states will blur our understanding of how much non
whites have contributed to the growth in prison populations from the mid 1980s
through the late 1990s.

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9

C. Seventy Percent of Prison Growth Borne by Communities of Color
During the twelve years we examined, the U.S. prisoner population more than
doubled from 502,376 to 1,240,962. Nationally, non whites accounted for 70% of
this growth in state and federal prisons. African Americans were 49% of the
increase and Hispanic/Latinos 20% with Native Americans, Asians and others
contributing 3% of the increase (Figure 5). Without separating Hispanic/Latinos
from the whites, we would instead find that whites accounted for 33% of the prisoner
increase, African Americans 49% and “others” 18%.

Figure 5: Percent Increase in Prison Population by Race from 1985 to1997

African
American
48.5%

Hispanic/
Latino
19.5%
Other
2.5%
White
29.5%

Between 1985
and 1997 the prison
population more
than doubled.

Communities of
color bore 70%
of this growth.

D. 90%of Prisoners added in New York between 1985 and 1997 were minority.
This widening of the racial divide in incarceration is even more dramatic as we look
at the prison populations of selected states (Figure 6). The state of New York offers

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

10

the prime example of how racial disparity in incarceration has grown to a gaping
divide. Between 1985 and 1997, as the state’s prison population doubled, more
than 90% of the change in the number of New York’s prisoners were from
minority communities. Of the 34,396 prisoners added to New York’s prison
population, 16,647 (48%) were African American, 13,148 (38%) Hispanic/Latino, but
only 3,253 (9.5%) were white. Yet New York is a state whose adult minority
population is 31.7% of the state’s citizenry. With nine of ten new prisoners added
being an ethnic or racial minority, New York outstrips all other states in the pace at
which it incarcerates non whites.

Figure 6: States with 80% or More of Prison Growth from 1985-1997 that is
Accounted for by People of Color.
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

non white
white

NY

MD

NJ

NC

IL

LA

SC

In neighboring New Jersey whites make up 72% of the state’s adult population. But
in terms of prison growth, non whites were 85% of the increase—with African
Americans accounting for nearly 11,000, Hispanic/Latinos 3,500 and whites 2,600 of
the 17,000 state prisoners added between 1985 and 1997. Maryland (85%), Illinois

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

11

(82%), North Carolina (82%), Louisiana (80%) and South Carolina (80%) are also
states whose prison growth was more than 80% non white but whose state-wide
population is two-thirds or more white.

The same pattern holds true for federal prisons as well. During the time studied,
federal prison growth is 75% accounted for by people of color. Blacks were 41% of
the growth and Hispanic/Latinos 32%. These statistics for federal courts and
corrections are important because in 1987 Congress enacted “sentencing
guidelines.” These guidelines were largely implemented to bring fairness to the
sentencing process. With statistics like these, fairness seems more like a fallacy.

E. In Most States the Majority of the Prison Growth Accounted for by Non
Whites
In 37 states (74%) non whites accounted for more than half the growth in the
number of prisoners (Figure 7). Yet in only Hawaii and the District of Columbia
does the non white population outnumber the white population. In Connecticut the
prison population almost tripled from 6,149 in 1985, to 17,241 in 1997. Even though
17% of Connecticut’s adult population is non white, 82% of the growth in the prison
population in Connecticut came from minority communities (78% of it from African
American and Hispanic/Latino communities). In Massachusetts, where white adults
make up 88% of the population and the prison population doubled, 61% of the
increase was comprised of non white prisoners. In Alabama, which is 75% white,
71% of the growth in the prison population was African American. 66% white

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

12

Mississippi had a prison population that more than doubled (from 6,392 to 14,296),
with 80.2% of that increase African American. In California (73%), New Mexico
(76%) and Pennsylvania (74%) non white prisoners far outpace their white
counterparts in populating the expanding state prison systems. Appendix Table 3
reports the percent of prison growth from 1985 to 1997 that is accounted for by each
racial/ethnic group.

The trend of non whites fueling the growth in prison populations holds true for
every state and the federal prisons. In no state is the growth in prison racially or
ethnically proportional to the group’s overall population. Whites are systematically
excluded from prison in every jurisdiction while people of color are locked up at
levels that far exceed their proportion of the population or their involvement in
crime.

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

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Figure 7: Percent of Prison Increase that is Non White from 1985 to 1997
0%

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

60%

70%

80%

90%

100%

NY
HI
MD
NJ
NC
IL
LA
SC
MS
CT
NM
TX
DE
GA
PA
VA
CA
AL
FL
AK
MN
WI
OH
AR
MA
MI

In 3 of 4 states,
the percent of
prison growth
between
1985 and 1997
that is non white
was 50% or more.

KS
CO
IN
RI
TN
AZ
WA

In no state is the
growth in prison
accounted for by
whites equal to
or greater than the
white proportion
of the state’s population.

MO
OK

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14

F. Rate of Incarceration Nearly Four Times Higher for Hispanic/Latinos, Nine
Times Higher for African Americans

African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos are not only much more likely to be
incarcerated than whites, their rate of incarceration far outpaces that of white non
Hispanics. Hispanic/Latinos have a rate of incarceration (1,058) that is nearly four
times the rate of whites and the African American rate (2,629) is nine times that of
whites (289).7 Figure 8 charts rates of incarceration (number per 100,000 adults)
for eight states. The states with the lowest and highest rates were chosen from
each of the four regions of the country. Along with the overall rate, the rates for
whites, Hispanic/Latinos and African Americans are provided.

Figure 8: Rates of Incarceration for Selected States, 1997

5000

White Rate
Overall Rate
Hispanic/Latino Rate
African American Rate

4000
3000
2000
1000
0
MN

MI

NH

NY

WV

TX

UT

NV

Minnesota has the lowest overall rate of incarceration in the country (155), the rate
in Texas (1,018) is the highest of any state (except Washington, D.C.) and nearly
seven times that of Minnesota’s. The Texas white rate of incarceration (467) is
nearly six times Minnesota’s (80), and the African American (4,115) and

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

15

Hispanic/Latino (1,045) rates in Texas are 1.7 and 1.5 times Minnesota’s rate. Yet
within each of these states, both African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos are
incarcerated at rates that dwarf whites. In Texas the African American rate is 8.8
times higher than the white rate while the Hispanic/Latino rate is 2.2 times that of
whites. In Minnesota, these rate differentials are even more pronounced. African
Americans are incarcerated at a rate 30.8 times that of whites and Hispanic/Latinos
at 8.6 times the white rate. In 1997, the state with the lowest overall rate of
incarceration has the largest gap between the rates of African Americans and
whites. Appendix Table 4 provides rates by jurisdiction for each racial/ethnic group.

G. The Divide Can Not Be Explained by Criminal Activity
There are those who believe the relationship between crime and incarceration is as
easy as “connecting the dots.”8 This simplistic reasoning may also lead some to
assume that the increase in minority incarceration rates resulted from higher levels
of criminal activity. As we previously reported, there are instances when the
opposite actually occurs. For example, whites, African Americans and
Hispanic/Latinos all consume drugs at a rate that is nearly identical to their
proportion of the population. Yet at every juncture of the criminal justice system
whites receive disproportionately lenient outcomes while non whites are many times
more likely to be arrested, prosecuted and incarcerated.

Further analysis of the Uniform Crime Reports9 data also show that the proportion of
serious crime that is committed by non whites has not increased over the time period

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

16

examined in this study. In 1985, whites were arrested for 53% of violent crimes and
62% of index crimes. Twelve years later those percentages remain virtually
unchanged with whites arrested for 56% of all violent crimes and 62% of index
crimes while African Americans were arrested for 40% of violent and 36% of index
crimes.

What is largely driving the expanding prison population is the “war on drugs” and the
associated laws, enforcement practices and sentencing schemes that fuel the divide
in how the drug issue is dealt with in communities. The outcome of this system is
higher rates of entry into prison for drug offenses and communities of color
experiencing the pains of prison at a level far exceeding whites. Admissions to
prison for drug offenses increased a whopping 1040% between 1986 and 1996.
Non violent admissions rose 200% while violent admissions were 11 times less than
drug offenses (82%). Overall, the rate of prison admission for drug offenses
increased six fold for African Americans while the rate of white admissions doubled.
In seven states the rate of admission for drug offenses declined between 1985 and
1995 for whites. In the same seven states the rate of admission for African
Americans increased by an average of 285%.10 If prison growth was driven by
crime, especially serious crimes warranting a year or more behind bars, we would
expect to find the increase in the number of prisoners aligned with the level of crime
for each racial or ethnic group.

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

17

Conclusion
No where do we believe the issue of race and ethnicity needs to be more closely
scrutinized than in America’s prisons. Dosteovsky, Tocqueville and Churchill each
saw prison as a barometer of society. Others have called prison the “canary in the
coal mine of society.”11 Early on, scholars recognized that the poorest, most
dispossessed and least powerful groups in a society populate prisons.12 America’s
prisons are full to overflowing with half of all prisoners confined for non violent
offense and half of these for drug offenses. While the racial disparity between the
number of white and African American prisoners has received a fair share of
attention, the reality of the racialized nature of prison growth has not been
adequately explored along lines that clearly spell out the burden borne by racial and
ethnic minority communities.

Our analysis reveals that understanding the demographics of America’s prisons is
not as simple as black and white. When Hispanic/Latino prisoners are
disaggregated from whites the percent of the prison that is white is much lower than
previously reported. Communities of color are far and away bearing the brunt of the
escalation in the prison population. New York has the dubious distinction of leading
the nation in populating its prisons with minorities – 90% of the nearly 35,000
prisoners added in New York were from communities of color. In 75% of all states,
minorities accounted for more than half of this increase. Even in some states where
3/4ths of the population is white, more than 80% of new prisoners over a twelve year

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

18

period were minority. The once presumed racial disparity in incarceration is actually
a gaping divide and the canary has no breath left to sing.

Recommendations
The overuse of incarceration is causing severe and potentially irreparable divisions
in society. Below are few simple recommendations that could help turn the criminal
justice system off its racist path and begin to repair the damage it is causing.

A. States and the federal government should adopt uniform guidelines for gathering
and reporting prisoner data on race and ethnicity. Specifically, a separate
category for Hispanic/Latino prisoners that is comparable to currently gathered
racial categories should be adopted.
B. Any proposed expansion of state or federal prison systems, including new
construction, should be subject to a “racial impact” assessment.
C. In jurisdictions where the race/ethnicity of the prison population is incongruent
with the racial/ethnic proportions of the general population and the racial/ethnic
crime rate, a thorough assessment of the processes leading to this imbalance
should be undertaken.
D. End the systematic use of civil disabilities resulting from criminal conviction.
These forms of “civil death” weigh heavily on individuals and communities. Being
barred from voting, certain types of employment, education, public assistance
and participation in other forms of civil life can seriously hinder the integration of
an ex-offender into the community. When these civil penalties are implemented
across communities of color they severely impinge on those communities right
and ability of self determination.
E. Invest in correctional policies that eschew bricks and mortar. Building new
prisons diverts much needed resources from the communities that need them
most. Community corrections strategies of supervision, safety and rehabilitation
can work if they are properly supported. $25,000 spent sending a non violent
offender from an inner city to a rural prison is a disinvestment of $25,000 in a
community desperate for help. Savings realized through alternatives to
incarceration should be put into prevention programs in at-risk communities.

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19

Methodology
Three sets of data are used to calculate the statistics for this study:
1985 prisoner data: Correctional Populations in the United States 1985.
Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics. December 1987. Table 5.6, p. 57
and Table 5.9, p. 60. Also see explanatory notes pp. 75-81.
1997 prisoner data: Correctional Populations in the United States 1997.
Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics. November 2000. Table 5.6, p. 77
and Table 5.9, p. 80. Also see explanatory notes pp. 95-104.
1985 and 1997 population data by state from http://www.census.gov/outgoing/.

Tables 5.6 and 5.9 from the 1985 and 1997 Correctional Population series are used
to calculate the number of white, African American and Hispanic prisoners under the
jurisdiction of each state. We use the under jurisdiction count as it gives a more
complete and accurate portrait of those under the control of prison authorities. “In
custody” counts underestimate the number of prisoners by excluding state prisoners
held in local jails due to overcrowding, those temporarily held in another facility such
as a hospital or those from one state held in another state’s prison. There is
variation from state to state in how and who is counted as a prisoner under
jurisdiction. A few smaller states include their jail population and a number of states
report only “in custody” figures. Please see the explanatory notes in the Correctional
Population series for state-by-state details.

Correctional Populations Table 5.6 reports the racial breakdown of under jurisdiction
prisoners as “White”, “Black”, American Indian”, “Asian” or “Unknown” but does not
include the number of Hispanics. Table 5.9 in Correctional Populations reports

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

20

prisoners of Hispanic origin but does not break those numbers down by race. Thus
“official” statistics provide a prisoner count that is most accurate for Hispanics but is
actually an estimate for the racial groups.

To separate out the number of Hispanic/Latino prisoners counted in white, African
American or other race categories we examined census reports for each jurisdiction.
While most Hispanic/Latinos report their race as white, 91.2% nationally in 1997,
there is variation in this figure over time and from state to state. In those states that
count Hispanic/Latino prisoners in race categories (white, black, American Indian,
Asian, other/not known), we used the percent of Hispanic/Latinos who report their
race as white, black, etc. in that state’s general population. We then multiplied that
percentage by the number of Hispanic/Latino prisoners in that state. This number is
then subtracted from the race categories to give the actual number of whites, African
American and Hispanic/Latino prisoners.

For example, New York had a prison population of 69,108 in 1997. New York
reported 29,655 whites, 37,488 African Americans, 204 American Indians, 391
Asians and 1,370 others/unknown race prisoners. However, NY also separately
reported that distributed throughout these races were 22,421 Hispanic/Latino
prisoners. In New York State 75.8% of Hispanic/Latinos report their race as white to
the census bureau, 21.6% as African American and 2.6% as some other race. We
multiplied the 22,421 Hispanic/Latino prisoners by .758. This yields 17,000
Hispanic/Latinos in New York prisons that report their race as white. We then

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

21

subtract these 17,000 from the 29,655 whites New York originally reported. The
remaining 12,655 equal the true number of white prisoners in New York prisons in
1997.

These new figures for each state are then used to calculate the proportion of the
change in the prison population that is accounted for by African Americans,
Hispanic/Latinos and whites. In some states this procedure was not possible and
we therefore believe that a white prisoner overcount still exists.

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

22

Acknowledgments
Barry Holman is the primary author of this report. Substantial and invaluable
research and statistical assistance was provided by Mary Cate Rush who also laid
out the report. Herbert Hoelter and Jerome Miller provided editorial assistance and
encouragement. Special thanks to Julie Laudenslager who designed the figures,
Vince at MJ who made the national release possible and Jason “Keeper of the
Watch” Ziedenberg who was originally a primary author of the report but had to
leave the project.

About NCIA
The National Center on Institutions and Alternatives is a non profit that promotes fair
and humane treatment for those who come in contact with justice and human
services systems. NCIA provides alternatives to institutionalization through national
and local initiatives in the criminal justice, juvenile justice, education, mental health
and developmental disability fields.

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Appendix 1
Number of Prisoners by Race/Ethnicity Before and After Removing
Hispanic/Latinos From Race Categories, 1985 and 1997
White
1985

African American
1997
After

Before

After

Before

1985

U.S.Total

260,847 213,571 505,513 431,439 227,137 224,396 590,454 582,439 54,672 54,672 198,673 198,673

4,436

4,435

7,615

7,614

6,560

Alaska

1,309

1,305

1,895

1,895

218

218

600

Arizona

6,813

4,730

18,686 11,451

1,362

1,341

Arkansas

2,347

2,328

2,264

2,260

31,027 17,963

Before

After

Before

After

65,539 35,343 13,066 12,604 43,786 41,932 10,053 10,053 33,110 33,110

Alabama

California

After

1997

Before

26,123 16,774

Before

1997

State

Federal

After

1985

Hispanic/Latino

4,448

4,382

6,560 14,594 14,594

1

1

1

600

5

5

138

3,523

3,323

2,164

2,164

5,543

5,538

23

23

1
138

7,732 7,732
74

74

46,957 46,957 16,954 16,694 48,331 48,331 13,793 13,793 53,580 53,580

Colorado

2,624

1,818

9,562

6,051

705

695

3,320

3,219

833

833

3,731 3,731

Connecticut

2,210

2,210

4,630

4,630

2,765

2,765

8,059

8,059

1,162

1,162

4,471 4,471

Delaware

1,107

1,045

1,942

1,759

1,443

1,433

3,481

3,458

74

74

172

172

91

88

6,232

6,232

9,096

9,095

District of
Columbia
Florida
Georgia

14,330 12,329

n/a

n/a

27,445 23,275 14,142 14,069 35,771 35,544

2,088

2,088

11,983 11,720

n/a

n/a

6,483

6,483

9,531 24,392 24,366

504

504

1,034

900

102

102

232

223

73

Idaho

1,258

1,135

3,165

2,690

32

31

65

50

Illinois

6,052

6,052

9,995

9,995 11,132 11,132 26,522 26,522

Indiana

6,433

6,351

10,132

9,753

3,464

3,460

7,707

Iowa

2,177

2,177

4,800

4,800

568

568

Kansas

2,975

2,807

4,608

4,131

1,678

Kentucky

3,382

3,382

8,976

8,920

1,592

Louisiana

3,858

3,858

Maine

1,193

Maryland

4

212
4

5,542 5,542
300

300

73

238

238

128

128

513

513

1,345

1,345

7,685

88

88

413

413

1,696

1,696

46

46

283

283

1,671

3,028

3,002

181

181

525

525

1,592

5,586

5,581

n/a

n/a

64

64

6,852

6,852 10,032 10,032 22,360 22,360

n/a

n/a

1,191

1,469

1,469

15

3,609

3,609

4,998

4,998

9,370

9,370 17,196 17,196

Massachusetts

3,527

3,067

5,590

5,590

1,849

1,776

Michigan

7,332

7,332

Minnesota

1,563

1,563

2,559

2,559

502

Mississippi

1,940

1,932

3,560

3,553

Missouri

5,878

5,878

12,917 12,653

Montana

889

859

2,058

2,058

16

16

35

35

34

Nebraska

1,173

1,117

2,237

2,056

553

552

1,008

999

Nevada

2,236

2,236

5,049

5,049

1,240

1,240

2,407

2,407

Hawaii

9,531

212

15

58

2
n/a

n/a
2

n/a

n/a
0

n/a

0
n/a

3,448

542

542

18,482 18,482 10,076 10,076 24,936 24,936

206

206

953

953

1,964

86

86

330

330

4,324

4,320 10,663 10,662

13

13

54

54

3,918

3,918 10,968 10,949

296

296

34

48

48

59

59

197

197

215

215

502

3,448

58

4,149 4,149

1,964

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

n/a

2,634 2,634

n/a

1268 1268

24

White
1985
State

Before

African American
1997

After

Before

1985
After

Before

New
Hampshire
New Jersey

669

662

2,019

1,930

14

3,841

2,406

7,316

5,022

7,483

New Mexico

1,935

791

3,892

1,354

239

17,032

New York
North
Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio

Hispanic/Latino

1997

After

Before

After

Before

7,353 18,572 18,294

1,565

1,565

5,029 5,029

499

1,161

1,161

2,640 2,640

9,402

29,655 12,655 17,497 15,996 37,488 32,643

9,273

9,273 22,421 22,421

7,591

7,591

10,044 10,044

n/a

n/a

344

342

10,986 10,837

611

576

5

21,846 21,072
11,188 11,188

545

9,341 20,418 20,418
5

20

n/a

98

n/a

18

2

2

40

40

9,553

9,541 25,938 25,876

165

165

864

864

2,434

2,434

7,097

7,097

112

112

762

762

5,839

503

501

1,010

1,010

158

158

867

867

11,632 11,632

8,035

5,259

5,259

Oregon

3,718

3,570

Pennsylvania

6,184

6,184

Rhode Island

926

838

2,157

1,749

378

South
Carolina
South Dakota

4,159

4,136

6,282

6,273

6,326

785

778

1,705

1,705

22

22

99

99

Tennessee

3,904

3,904

8,114

8,114

3,153

3,153

8,437

8,437

21,961 14,264

98

After

7

Oklahoma

Texas

Before
7

235

120

After

1997

113

9,341

14

1985

5,839

8,035 19,847 19,847
365

1,175

n/a

3291 3291

1,096

103

103

504

504

6,317 14,762 14,761

34

34

119

119

9

9

38,697 38,697 15,548 15,424 63,883 63,883
149

n/a

Utah

1,437

1,157

3,709

2,933

146

Vermont

n/a

n/a

1,193

1,172

n/a

n/a

Virginia

4,914

4,914

9,221

9,221

Washington

4,863

4,863

9,376

West Virginia

1,465

1,464

Wisconsin

3,224

Wyoming

690

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

7,821

7,821 37,137 37,137

292

75

292

75

328

303

836

836

36

35

n/a

n/a

22

22

7,111

7,111 18,970 18,970

n/a

n/a

91

91

7,731

1,273

1,273

2,962

2,885

384

384

2,643

2,640

260

260

502

502

1

1

3

2,938

7,910

7,027

2,072

2,060

7,788

7,738

307

307

974

974

628

1,190

1,190

36

36

82

82

64

64

182

182

1,858 1,858

Note: U.S. total may not add due to rounding

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

25

3

Appendix 2
Percentage of Prisoners by Race/Ethnicity Before and After Removing
Hispanic/Latinos From Race Categories, 1985 and 1997
White
1985
Jurisdiction

African American
1997

1985

Before After Before After

Hispanic/Latino

1997

Before After

1985

Before After

1997

Before After

Before After

U.S. Total

51.9% 42.5% 40.7%

34.8%

45.2%

44.7%

47.6%

46.9%

10.9%

10.9%

16.0% 16.0%

Federal

64.9% 41.7% 58.0%

31.3%

32.5%

31.3%

38.8%

37.1%

25.0%

25.0%

29.3% 29.3%

Alabama

40.3% 40.3% 34.2%

34.2%

59.6%

59.6%

65.5%

65.5%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Alaska

56.2% 56.0% 45.5%

45.5%

9.4%

9.4%

14.4%

14.4%

0.2%

0.2%

3.3%

3.3%

Arizona

79.9% 55.4% 79.6%

48.8%

16.0%

15.7%

15.0%

14.2%

25.4%

25.4%

Arkansas

50.9% 50.5% 44.4%

43.7%

49.1%

49.0%

55.3%

55.3%

0.5%

0.5%

California

61.9% 35.8% 30.1%

30.1%

33.8%

33.3%

31.0%

31.0%

27.5%

27.5%

34.4% 34.4%

Colorado

77.9% 54.0% 71.0%

45.0%

20.9%

20.6%

24.7%

23.9%

24.7%

24.7%

27.7% 27.7%

Connecticut

35.9% 35.9% 26.9%

26.9%

45.0%

45.0%

46.7%

46.7%

18.9%

18.9%

25.9% 25.9%

Delaware

43.4% 40.9% 35.7%

32.4%

56.5%

56.1%

64.0%

63.6%

2.9%

2.9%

3.9%

3.9%

2.7%

2.7%

32.9% 32.9%
0.7%

0.7%

District of
Columbia
Florida

1.0%

0.9%

97.3%

97.3%

97.3%

97.2%

n/a

n/a

0.0%

0.0%

50.1% 43.1% 42.5%

36.0%

49.4%

49.2%

55.4%

55.0%

7.3%

7.3%

8.6%

8.6%

Georgia

40.5% 40.5% 32.8%

32.1%

59.5%

59.5%

66.8%

66.7%

n/a

n/a

0.8%

0.8%

Hawaii

23.9% 23.9% 20.8%

18.1%

4.8%

4.8%

4.7%

4.5%

3.5%

3.5%

4.8%

4.8%

Idaho

93.6% 84.5% 80.9%

68.8%

2.4%

2.3%

1.7%

1.3%

9.5%

9.5%

13.1% 13.1%

Illinois

32.5% 32.5% 24.5%

24.5%

59.7%

59.7%

65.0%

65.0%

7.2%

7.2%

10.2% 10.2%

Indiana

65.0% 64.1% 56.6%

54.5%

35.0%

34.9%

43.0%

42.9%

0.9%

0.9%

2.3%

2.3%

Iowa

76.9% 76.9% 69.2%

69.2%

20.1%

20.1%

24.4%

24.4%

1.6%

1.6%

4.1%

4.1%

Kansas

62.9% 59.3% 58.2%

52.2%

35.5%

35.3%

38.3%

37.9%

3.8%

3.8%

6.6%

6.6%

Kentucky

68.0% 68.0% 61.5%

61.1%

32.0%

32.0%

38.3%

38.2%

n/a

n/a

0.4%

0.4%

Louisiana

27.8% 27.8% 23.4%

23.4%

72.2%

72.2%

76.4%

76.4%

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Maine

97.3% 97.1% 90.7%

90.7%

1.2%

1.2%

3.6%

3.6%

0.2%

0.2%

0.0%

0.0%

Maryland

27.8% 27.8% 22.5%

22.5%

72.0%

72.0%

77.3%

77.3%

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Massachusetts

65.4% 56.9% 46.8%

46.8%

34.3%

33.0%

28.9%

28.9%

10.1%

10.1%

Michigan

41.3% 41.3% 41.3%

41.3%

56.8%

56.8%

55.7%

55.7%

1.2%

1.2%

2.1%

2.1%

Minnesota

66.7% 66.7% 48.0%

48.0%

21.4%

21.4%

36.9%

36.9%

3.7%

3.7%

6.2%

6.2%

Mississippi

30.4% 30.2% 24.9%

24.9%

67.6%

67.6%

74.6%

74.6%

0.2%

0.2%

0.4%

0.4%

Missouri

60.0% 60.0% 53.8%

52.7%

40.0%

40.0%

45.7%

45.6%

n/a

n/a

1.2%

1.2%

Montana

78.7% 76.0% 81.8%

81.8%

1.4%

1.4%

1.4%

1.4%

3.0%

3.0%

1.9%

1.9%

Nebraska

64.7% 61.6% 65.8%

60.5%

30.5%

30.4%

29.6%

29.4%

3.3%

3.3%

5.8%

5.8%

Nevada

59.3% 59.3% 56.0%

56.0%

32.9%

32.9%

26.7%

26.7%

5.7%

5.7%

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

22.0% 22.0%

14.1% 14.1%

26

White
1985
Jurisdiction

African American
1997

Before After Before After

1985

Hispanic/Latino

1997

Before After

1985

Before After

1997

Before After

Before After

New Hampshire

98.0% 96.9% 93.3%

89.2%

2.0%

2.0%

5.5%

5.2%

1.0%

1.0%

4.5%

4.5%

New Jersey

33.9% 21.2% 25.8%

17.7%

66.0%

64.9%

65.5%

64.5%

13.8%

13.8%

17.7% 17.7%

New Mexico

83.7% 34.2% 83.0%

28.9%

10.3%

10.2%

11.6%

10.6%

50.2%

50.2%

56.3% 56.3%

New York

49.1% 27.1% 42.9%

18.3%

50.4%

46.1%

54.2%

47.2%

26.7%

26.7%

32.4% 32.4%

North Carolina

43.8% 43.8% 31.8%

31.8%

53.9%

53.9%

64.6%

64.6%

North Dakota

81.5% 81.0% 76.7%

72.3%

1.2%

1.2%

2.5%

Ohio

52.7% 51.9% 45.5%

43.9%

45.8%

45.7%

Oklahoma

63.1% 63.1% 54.5%

54.5%

29.2%

Oregon

83.5% 80.2% 73.0%

73.0%

Pennsylvania
Rhode Island

43.5% 43.5% 33.3%
70.8% 64.2% 64.0%

South Carolina

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

2.3%

0.5%

0.5%

5.0%

5.0%

54.0%

53.9%

0.8%

0.8%

1.8%

1.8%

29.2%

34.5%

34.5%

1.3%

1.3%

3.7%

3.7%

11.3%

11.2%

12.6%

12.6%

3.5%

3.5%

10.8% 10.8%

33.3%
51.9%

56.5%
28.9%

56.5%
27.9%

56.8%
34.9%

56.8%
32.5%

n/a
7.9%

n/a
7.9%

9.4% 9.4%
15.0% 15.0%

39.6% 39.3% 29.7%

29.6%

60.2%

60.1%

69.7%

69.7%

0.3%

0.3%

0.6%

0.6%

South Dakota

75.0% 74.2% 76.0%

76.0%

2.1%

2.1%

4.4%

4.4%

0.9%

0.9%

n/a

n/a

Tennessee

54.8% 54.8% 48.7%

48.7%

44.2%

44.2%

50.6%

50.6%

n/a

n/a

0.5%

0.5%

Texas

58.5% 38.0% 27.6%

27.6%

41.4%

41.1%

45.5%

45.5%

20.8%

20.8%

26.5% 26.5%

Utah

88.0% 70.9% 86.3%

68.2%

9.1%

8.9%

7.6%

7.0%

17.9%

17.9%

19.4% 19.4%

94.0%

92.4%

n/a

n/a

2.8%

2.8%

n/a

n/a

1.7%

1.7%

Virginia

40.7% 40.7% 32.5%

32.5%

58.9%

58.9%

66.8%

66.8%

n/a

n/a

0.3%

0.3%

Washington

70.4% 70.4% 71.0%

58.5%

18.4%

18.4%

22.4%

21.8%

5.6%

5.6%

West Virginia

84.9% 84.9% 84.0%

83.9%

15.1%

15.1%

15.9%

15.9%

0.1%

0.1%

0.1%

0.1%

Wisconsin

59.2% 54.0% 48.6%

43.2%

38.1%

37.9%

47.8%

47.5%

5.6%

5.6%

6.0%

6.0%

Wyoming

91.0% 82.8% 76.8%

76.8%

4.7%

4.7%

5.3%

5.3%

8.4%

8.4%

Vermont

n/a

n/a

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

14.1% 14.1%

11.7% 11.7%

27

Appendix 3
Percent Increase in Prison Population Accounted for by Race/Ethnicity, 1985 to 1997
Jurisdiction
U.S. total
Federal
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of
Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota

White
Prison Pop Change Percent

Change in

Black
Change Percent

Hispanic
Change Percent

Other
Change Percent

738,586

217,869

29.5%

358,043

48.5%

144,001

19.5%

18,673

2.5%

72,750
11,275
1,836
14,953
5,410
105,679
10,092
11,092
2,882
2,949

18,569
3,179
590
6,721
2,054
28,994
4,233
2,420
714
-84

25.5%
28.2%
32.1%
44.9%
38.0%
27.4%
41.9%
21.8%
24.8%
-2.9%

29,328
8,034
382
1,982
3,278
31,637
2,523
5,294
2,025
2,863

40.3%
71.3%
20.8%
13.3%
60.6%
29.9%
25.0%
47.7%
70.3%
97.1%

23,057
0
133
5,568
51
39,787
2,898
3,309
138
4

31.7%
0.0%
7.2%
37.2%
0.9%
37.6%
28.7%
29.8%
4.8%
0.1%

1,796
62
731
681
27
5,261
437
69
6
166

2.5%
0.5%
39.8%
4.6%
0.5%
5.0%
4.3%
0.6%
0.2%
5.6%

36,026
20,491
2,867
2,567
22,154
7,999
4,106
3,179
9,625
15,375
394
9,227
6,557
27,016
2,983
7,904
14,202
1,388
1,588
5,253
1,481
17,026
2,375
34,396
14,268
375
27,152
12,212
3,545
20,737
2,064
10,663
1,195

10,947
5,237
396
1,555
3,943
3,402
2,623
1,324
5,538
2,994
278
1,389
2,523
11,150
996
1,621
6,775
1,199
939
2,813
1,268
2,616
563
3,253
2,453
234
10,235
5,929
2,269
5,448
911
2,137
927

30.4%
25.6%
13.8%
60.6%
17.8%
42.5%
63.9%
41.7%
57.5%
19.5%
70.5%
15.1%
38.5%
41.3%
33.4%
20.5%
47.7%
86.4%
59.1%
53.6%
85.6%
15.4%
23.7%
9.5%
17.2%
62.3%
37.7%
48.6%
64.0%
26.3%
44.1%
20.0%
77.6%

21,475
14,835
121
19
15,390
4,225
1,128
1,331
3,989
12,328
43
7,826
1,672
14,860
1,462
6,342
7,031
19
448
1,167
100
10,941
265
16,647
11,077
13
16,335
4,663
509
11,812
731
8,444
77

59.6%
72.4%
4.2%
0.7%
69.5%
52.8%
27.5%
41.9%
41.4%
80.2%
10.9%
84.8%
25.5%
55.0%
49.0%
80.2%
49.5%
1.4%
28.2%
22.2%
6.7%
64.3%
11.1%
48.4%
77.6%
3.5%
60.2%
38.2%
14.4%
57.0%
35.4%
79.2%
6.5%

3,454
300
165
385
2,804
325
237
344
64
0
-2
0
2,092
747
244
41
296
14
138
1,053
91
3,464
1,479
13,148
0
38
699
650
709
3,291
401
85
-9

9.6%
1.5%
5.8%
15.0%
12.7%
4.1%
5.8%
10.8%
0.7%
0.0%
-0.5%
0.0%
31.9%
2.8%
8.2%
0.5%
2.1%
1.0%
8.7%
20.0%
6.1%
20.3%
62.3%
38.2%
0.0%
10.1%
2.6%
5.3%
20.0%
15.9%
19.4%
0.8%
-0.8%

151
120
2,184
608
17
47
118
180
34
53
75
12
271
259
281
-100
100
155
63
220
22
5
68
1,348
738
90
-117
970
58
186
21
-3
199

0.4%
0.6%
76.2%
23.7%
0.1%
0.6%
2.9%
5.7%
0.4%
0.3%
19.1%
0.1%
4.1%
1.0%
9.4%
-1.3%
0.7%
11.2%
4.0%
4.2%
1.5%
0.0%
2.9%
3.9%
5.2%
24.0%
-0.4%
7.9%
1.6%
0.9%
1.0%
0.0%
16.7%

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

28

State
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Change in
White
Black
Hispanic
Other
Prison Pop Change Percent Change Percent Change Percent Change Percent
9,532
4,210
44.2%
5,284
55.4%
75
0.8%
-37
-0.4%
102,819
24,433
23.8%
48,459
47.1%
29,316
28.5%
611
0.6%
2,668
1,776
66.6%
157
5.9%
544
20.4%
191
7.2%
593
1,172 197.7%
35
5.9%
22
3.7%
-637 -107.4%
16,312
4,307
26.4%
11,859
72.7%
91
0.6%
55
0.3%
6,305
2,868
45.5%
1,612
25.6%
1,474
23.4%
350
5.6%
1,423
1,176
82.7%
242
17.0%
2
0.1%
3
0.2%
10,835
4,089
37.7%
5,678
52.4%
667
6.2%
401
3.7%
791
562
71.0%
46
5.9%
118
14.9%
65
8.2%

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

29

Appendix 4
Prisoners by Race/Ethnicity, 1997 and 1985
Rate per 100,000 Adult Residents
White Rate

U.S. total
Federal
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

1997
289
24
315
594
473
282
366
259
224
406
65
289
306
329
341
151
250
236
243
332
326
158
195
137
308
80
275
362
340
185
543
227
116
209
136
238
128
289
558
267
145
261
315
349
240
467
237
270
242
218
197
199
372

African American Rate
1985
151
12
200
470
261
160
138
91
104
272
112
179
204
193
177
90
174
106
173
135
176
141
148
75
130
53
156
179
154
102
374
91
53
138
94
209
73
155
258
193
77
121
237
164
130
182
121
0
146
167
107
89
193

1997
2,629
189
1,906
4,011
3,510
2,111
3,128
3,067
4,240
3,609
3,672
2,610
1,706
960
1,577
2,220
2,368
4,807
3,046
2,869
2,452
1,411
1,754
1,652
2,640
2,459
1,645
2,735
1,869
2,439
3,144
2,109
2,447
2,166
1,739
1,818
780
3,010
4,302
2,784
2,551
4,369
1,894
3,232
1,414
4,115
3,193
1,679
2,009
2,310
1,206
4,476
3,434

1985
1,221
69
1,015
1,750
2,300
969
1,266
857
1,780
2,144
1,998
1,476
915
654
1,609
1,028
1,289
2,077
1,930
920
1,207
561
1,297
1,039
1,272
1,127
774
1,131
1,166
1,698
3,246
387
1,156
1,356
946
1,019
244
1,303
1,666
1,964
1,106
1,746
984
1,227
644
1,226
2,267
0
972
1,584
606
1,670
1,577

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

Hispanic/Latino
Rate
1997
1985
1,058
471
176
87
4
5
940
58
1,281
657
274
198
865
372
1,062
341
2,697
1157
1,365
965
14
0
350
234
225
0
392
178
1,046
508
561
284
468
159
873
266
649
388
313
0
0
0
0
56
0
0
1,187
429
596
197
684
361
365
101
549
0
506
540
485
310
796
408
900
135
754
384
589
342
1,294
725
0
0
985
83
778
213
1,052
258
767
312
1,722
0
1,298
508
384
162
0
370
200
0
1,045
340
1,051
707
588
0
56
0
921
419
42
14
1,272
705
1,019
408

Overall Rate
1997
626
57
689
993
710
538
669
469
695
977
2213
577
664
561
455
462
411
326
411
499
932
171
576
256
619
155
725
600
387
281
732
247
468
384
507
569
167
574
844
330
382
450
748
424
411
1018
314
285
557
319
225
423
445

30

1985
286
23
379
664
369
269
257
142
254
549
1296
324
371
276
197
221
248
134
265
184
444
143
395
121
269
77
350
265
191
157
527
92
199
231
259
372
86
265
350
225
159
176
433
209
202
324
158
171
283
214
121
156
217

Endnotes
1

Former President Clinton, Republican Governors George Pataki of New York, and Gary Johnston
of New Mexico and other elected officials have called for a reform of drug sentencing laws. In
California, 62% of voters favored an initiative [Proposition 36] that will divert more than 35,000
people convicted of drug crimes from prison to treatment programs.

2

Gainsborough, Jenni and Mauer, Marc. “Diminishing Returns: Crime and Incarceration in the
1990s.” Washington, D.C.: The Sentencing Project, 2000;
Rose and Clear in Cose, Ellis. “The Prison Paradox.” Newsweek. November 17, 2000;

Schiraldi, Vincent, Holman, Barry and Philip Beatty. “Poor Prescription: the Costs of Imprisoning
Drug Offenders in the United States.” Washington, D.C.: The Justice Policy Institute, 2000;
Spelling, William “The Limited Importance of Prison Expansion.” In The American Crime Drop.
Blumstein, Alfred and Wallman Joel, eds. Boston: Cambridge University Press, 2000;
Rosenfeld Richard. “Patterns in Adult Homicide: 1980-1995.” In The American Crime Drop.
Blumstein, Alfred and Wallman Joel, eds. Boston: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
3

Tonry, Michael, Malign Neglect: Race, Crime and Punishment in America. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1995.
Miller, Jerome G. Search and Destroy: African-American Males in the Criminal Justice System.
Cambridge University Press: 1996;
Kennedy, Randal. Race, Crime and Law. New York: Pantheon Books, 1997
Cole, David. No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Justice System. New York: New
Press, 1999
Mauer, Marc. Race to Incarcerate. New York: New Press, 1999

4

“Initial Report of the United States of America to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination
of Racial Discrimination.” U.S. Department of State. Washington, D.C.: September 2000.
Available on-line at http://www.state.gov/www/global/human_rights/cerd_report

5

“Hispanic” is defined as those who have Spanish-speaking ancestry but may belong to any race.
Schmidt, Eric. “Census figures Show Hispanics Pulling Even with Blacks.” The New York Times.
March 8, 2001.

6

Prison populations and prisoner demographics are compiled in the Department of Justice, Bureau
of Justice Statistics publication entitled “Correctional Populations in the United States.” Prisoner
race and ethnicity for each state is reported in two separate tables. One table (5.6) reports the race
of each prisoner. “Hispanic” is not included as a racial category in this table, however Hispanic
prisoners are contained somewhere within the other five racial categories. In addition, there is
great variability in the way the states decide which racial category Hispanic/Latino prisoners will be
reported in. Some states put all or some Hispanic/Latinos in the “other” category. Other states put
them only in “white” and some allow Hispanic/Latino prisoners to choose which racial category they

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

31

6

prefer. In this last scenario Hispanic/Latinos may be distributed across all racial categories. A
second table (5.9) reports ethnic origin as either “Hispanic” or “Non Hispanic” but does not break
down these numbers by race.
7

Rate of incarceration is calculated using the adult population as prisons hold very few youth.
Because of the way census data were reported in 1985, “adults” are those ages 20 and over. For
1997, the ages 18 and over are used.
8
Morgan Reynolds in Cose, Ellis. “The Prison Paradox.” Newsweek. November 17, 2000.
9
Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports 1985 and 1997.
10
Schiraldi, Holman and Beatty, 2000.
11
Miller, Jerome G., “American Gulags”. Yes Magazine. August 2000
12
Reusche, George and Kirchheimer, Otto. Punishment and Social Structure. New York:
Columbia University Press, 1939.

The Divide: Incarceration and its Disparate Impact on Communities of Color

32

 

 

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