Thanks to inquiries – and decades of liberal arts education – I am now posting this infographic with its sources and references. The image has been used in two recent posts, “Can Social Impact Bonds Solve America’s Prison Problem” and “Reader Update: Reactions to SIBS and the U.S. Justice System.” The goal of this infographic is to facilitate informed discussions about racial justice in the United States based on objective, accurate data.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This means that you are encouraged to share the infographic for non-commercial purposes with attribution. If you have questions about this tool, please comment here or connect on Twitter, @hongkonghaiti.

Updated Colorblind graphic
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Colorblind? Race & Justice in Modern America

This project was inspired in part by a CNN feature entitled, “The new threat: ‘Racism without racists'” posted in 2014 following extensive protests in Ferguson, MO. The article is a collection of data and reports examining racism in the United States even in the absence of overt, traditional racism or segregation. Among the findings cited, the article notes:

– “Whites and racial minorities speak a different language when they talk about racism, scholars and psychologists say.”
– “The U.S. has a greater wealth gap between whites and blacks than South Africa had during apartheid.”
– “…newly released white felons experience better job hunting success than young black men with no criminal record.”

1. 1 in every 3 African American men goes to prison compared to 1 in 6 Latino men and1 in 17 white men.

This information is available from the U.S. Census and the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, which report that African American men have a 32% chance of spending time in jail compared to Latino men, who have a 17% chance and white men, who have a 6% chance. Additional information is available from The Sentencing Project in a report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, entitled “Regarding Racial Disparities in the United States Criminal Justice System” in 2013. The report cites Marc Mauer’s 2011 report, “Addressing Racial Disparities in Incarceration.” See the report here

2. The US has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prison population 

This information is available through public demographic data. In addition, the ACLU adds that “Since 1970, our prison population [in the U.S.] has risen 700%. One in 99 adults are living behind bars in the U.S. This marks the highest rate of imprisonment in American history. One in 31 adults are under some form of correctional control, counting prison, jail, parole and probation populations.” See additional details here.

3. African American men are incarcerated at 6x the rate of white men

In 2013, the Pew Research Center reported that “Black men were more than six times as likely as white men to be incarcerated in federal and state prisons, and local jails in 2010, the last year complete data are available…In 2010, the incarceration rate for white men under local, state and federal jurisdiction was 678 inmates per 100,000 white U.S. residents; for black men, it was 4,347. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, black men were more than six times as likely as white men to be incarcerated in 2010.” Read more here.

The Hamilton Project, part of the Brookings Institution, additionally cites Bureau of Justice Statistics data in its findings that “Racial minorities are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to face stiff sentences. African-American males are six times more likely to be incarcerated than white males and 2.5 times more likely than Hispanic males. If current trends continue, one of every three black American males born today can expect to go to prison in his lifetime, as can one of every six Latino males—compared to one of every seventeen white males. Racial and ethnic disparities among women are less substantial than among men but remain prevalent.” Learn more here.

4. African American men are 21x more likely than white men to be shot by the police

An October 2014 ProPublica report found that “the 1,217 deadly police shootings from 2010 to 2012 captured in the federal data show that blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police.” See the report details here

5. African American students are 3.5x more likely to be suspended or expelled than white students

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education found that “African-American students, particularly males, are far more likely to be suspended or expelled from school than their peers.  Black students make up 18% of the students in the CRDC sample, but 35% of the students suspended once, and 39% of the students expelled.” Additional information from the U.S. Department of Education

In addition, the New York Times reported that “Although black students made up only 18 percent of those enrolled in the schools sampled, they accounted for 35 percent of those suspended once, 46 percent of those suspended more than once and 39 percent of all expulsions, according to the Civil Rights Data Collection’s 2009-10 statistics from 72,000 schools in 7,000 districts, serving about 85 percent of the nation’s students. The data covered students from kindergarten age through high school. One in five black boys and more than one in 10 black girls received an out-of-school suspension. Over all, black students were three and a half times as likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers.” Read the article here.

6. 43% of African Americans say police officers make them mostly anxious 

In 2014, following the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, CBS News reported that “While four in five whites say their local police make them feel mostly safe, that drops to 52 percent among blacks. Forty-three percent of African Americans say the local police make them feel mostly anxious…compared to just 18 percent of whites who feel that way.”  Read the article and poll details here.

In addition, a 2013 Pew Research Center survey found that “seven-in-ten blacks say African Americans are treated less fairly than whites in their dealings with police. Some 37% of whites say blacks are treated less fairly in this realm and an additional 13% say they do not know.” Learn more about the findings here.

7. Within 5 years of release, 77% of released prisoners are rearrested

The National Institute of Justice – the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice – writes that “Bureau of Justice Statistics studies have found high rates of recidivism among released prisoners. One study tracked 404,638 prisoners in 30 states after their release from prison in 2005. The researchers found that:
– Within three years of release, about two-thirds (67.8 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested.
– Within five years of release, about three-quarters (76.6 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested.
– Of those prisoners who were rearrested, more than half (56.7 percent) were arrested by the end of the first year.”
Learn more here.

8. African Americans account for 7% of the youth population & 46% of juvenile arrests

In 2006, the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention found that: “blacks are 17% of juvenile population and 46% of juvenile arrests. The racial composition of the juvenile population in 2004 was 78% white, 17% black, 4% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1% American Indian. Most Hispanics (an ethnic designation, not a race) were classified as white. Of all juvenile arrests for violent crimes in 2004, 52% involved white youth, 46% involved black youth, 1% involved Asian youth, and 1% involved American Indian youth…Black youth were overrepresented in juvenile arrests.”

9. Incarceration in the US costs $80 billion dollars annually 

In “10 Economic Facts about Crime and Incarceration in the United States,” the Brooking Institution’s Hamilton Project reports that “On average, in 2012, it cost more than $29,000 In 2010, the United States spent more than $80 billion on corrections expenditures at the federal, state, and local levels,” citing Kyckelhahn 2013. In addition, “total corrections expenditures more than quadrupled over the past twenty years in real terms, from approximately $17 billion in 1980 to more than $80 billion in 2010. When including expenditures for police protection and judicial and legal services, the direct costs of crime rise to $261 billion (Kyckelhahn and Martin 2013).See the report here.

Based on this report, CBS news reported that “each U.S. resident is paying about $260 per year on corrections, up from $77 per person in 1980.” See the article here. 

10. Jail reduces the work time of young people 25-30% compared to non-incarcerated youth 

In 2006, the Justice Policy Institute reported on a study by academics with the National Bureau of Economic Research that found that “jailing youth (age 16-25) reduced work time over the next decade by 25-30 percent. Looking at youth age 14 to 24, Princeton University researchers found that youth who spent some time incarcerated in a youth facility experienced three weeks less work a year (for African-American youth, five weeks less work a year) as compared to youth who had no history of incarceration,” citing Western, Bruce and Beckett, Katherine (1999), “How Unregulated Is the U.S. Labor Market?: The Penal System as a Labor Market Institution.” See the Justice Policy Institute report here

11. Prison sentences are getting longer & prisoners are getting older

In 2012, the Pew Charitable Trusts reported that “Nationally, from 1990 to 2009, the average amount of time prisoners spent behind bars increased 36 percent, from 2.1 years to 2.9 years. Prison terms for drug offenders grew at nearly the same rate (36 percent) as those for violent offenders (37 percent) over that period…The additional time served by offenders released in 2009, compared with those released in 1990, cost states more than $10 billion.” Read the report summary here.

Additional Resources

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