The overrepresentation of Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans in the U.S. criminal justice system has a serious impact on all aspects of American life and the economy, and devastates the employment and housing opportunities of those who have been imprisoned and their communities. People of color are incarcerated in greater numbers, and face harsher penalties, than Whites in virtually every part of the United States.
This report used available national data to document the disproportionate minority contact (DMC) that people of color experience in the nation’s criminal justice system. Using a relative risk index (RRI), the authors compare rates of arrest, incarceration, probation, sentencing length and other criminal justice contacts of people of color as compared to Whites. States that consistently have had the widest prison disparities across race and ethnicity – with Black Americans incarcerated at rates at least 10 times the rates for Whites – are Connecticut, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont and Wisconsin.