Race & Prison

People sentenced to prison, jail, other correctional facilities, or community corrections. Statistics and other data regarding race and the correctional system, including prisons, jails, other correctional facilities, probation, and parole.

Parents in Prison

(Parents in Prison) "Similar to men in the general prison population (93%), parents held in the nation's prisons at midyear 2007 were mostly male (92%) (not shown in table). More than 4 in 10 fathers were black, about 3 in 10 were white, and about 2 in 10 were Hispanic (appendix table 2). An estimated 1,559,200 children had a father in prison at midyear 2007; nearly half (46%) were children of black fathers.

Impact of Racial Disparities

(Impact of Racial Disparities) At the start of the 1990s, the U.S. had more Black men (between the ages of 20 and 29) under the control of the nation's criminal justice system than the total number in college. This and other factors have led some scholars to conclude that, "crime control policies are a major contributor to the disruption of the family, the prevalence of single parent families, and children raised without a father in the ghetto, and the 'inability of people to get the jobs still available.'"

Parents in Prison, 1999

(Parents in Prison, 1999) "Of the Nation's 72.3 million minor children in 1999, 2.1% had a parent in State or Federal prison. Black children (7.0%) were nearly 9 times more likely to have a parent in prison than white children (0.8%). Hispanic children (2.6%) were 3 times as likely as white children to have an inmate parent."

State and Federal Prison Populations in the US, by Race, Gender, and Latinx Ethnicity

"• At year-end 2016, an estimated 7% of non-Hispanic white males in state and federal prison were ages 18 to 24, compared to 13% of non-Hispanic black males and 12% of Hispanic males.

"• Sixteen percent of while male prisoners were age 55 or older, compared to 10% of black male and 8% of Hispanic male prisoners.

"• Eight percent each of white and black female prisoners in 2015 were age 55 or older, compared to 5% of Hispanic female prisoners.

Estimated Number of Young Adults in the US With a Parent Who Has Ever Spent Time in Jail or Prison

"The prevalence of any PI [Parental Incarceration] was 12.5% with the 95% confidence interval (CI) of 11.3% to 13.8%. The distribution of incarceration status by category was: neither parent (87.5%, 95% CI: 86.2%–88.7%), father only (9.9%, 95% CI: 8.9%–10.9%), mother only (1.7%, 95% CI: 1.4%–2.0%), and both parents (0.9%, 95% CI: 0.7%–1.2%). A significant association was found between race and PI. Black and Hispanic individuals had the highest prevalence of PI, 20.6% and 14.8%, compared with 11.9% for white individuals and 11.6% for those classified as other.

Problems of Systemic Racial Biases Within Drug Courts

(Problems of Systemic Racial Biases Within Drug Courts) "Importantly, representation of African-Americans in jails and prisons was nearly twice that of both Drug Courts and probation, and was also substantially higher among all arrestees for drug-related offenses. On one hand, these discrepancies might be explained by relevant differences in the populations. For example, minority arrestees might be more likely to have the types of prior convictions that could exclude them from eligibility for Drug Courts or probation.

Parents Behind Bars

Parents Behind Bars: "The growth of incarceration in America has intergenerational impacts that policy makers will have to confront. According to this analysis, more than 1.2 million inmates — over half of the 2.3 million people behind bars — are parents of children under age 18. This includes more than 120,000 mothers and more than 1.1 million fathers. The racial concentration that characterizes incarceration rates also extends to incarcerated parents.

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