words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

linear data | machinations | the complexity of white supremacy outside my window | part one : incarceration

linear data prison text 1

Machinations: A scheming or crafty action or artful design intended to accomplish some usually evil end.

“Outside My Window” is a sub-series within “Linear Data” where the focus will be on statistical data with respect to various findings that convey elements of white supremacy, white privilege, and institutional racism etc., in our society. I will attempt to subjectively interject with my own commentary as little as possible.

Privatization of prisons: A private prison or for profit prison is a place in which individuals are physically confined or incarcerated by a third party that is contracted by a government agency.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE FACT SHEET

Incarceration Trends in America

Between 1980 and 2015, the number of people incarcerated in America increased from roughly 500,000 to< over 2.2 million. Today, the United States makes up about 5% of the world’s population and has 21% of the world’s prisoners. 1 in every 37 adults in the United States, or 2.7% of the adult population, is under some form of correctional supervision.

Racial Disparities in Incarceration

In 2014, African Americans constituted 2.3 million, or 34%, of the total 6.8 million correctional population. African Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites. The imprisonment rate for African American women is twice that of white women. Nationwide, African American children represent 32% of children who are arrested, 42% of children who are detained, and 52% of children whose cases are judicially waived to criminal court. Though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately 32% of the US population, they comprised 56% of all incarcerated people in 2015. If African Americans and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rates as whites, prison and jail populations would decline by almost 40%.

Drug Sentencing Disparities

In the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 17 million whites and 4 million African Americans reported having used an illicit drug within the last month. African Americans and whites use drugs at similar rates, but the imprisonment rate of African Americans for drug charges is almost 6 times that of whites. African Americans represent 12.5% of illicit drug users, but 29% of those arrested for drug offenses and 33% of those incarcerated in state facilities for drug offenses.

Contributing Factors

Inner city crime prompted by social and economic isolation. Crime/drug arrest rates: African Americans represent 12% of monthly drug users, but comprise 32% of persons arrested for drug possession. “Get tough on crime” and “war on drugs” policies. Mandatory minimum sentencing, especially disparities in sentencing for crack and powder cocaine possession. In 2002, blacks constituted more than 80% of the people sentenced under the federal crack cocaine laws and served substantially more time in prison for drug offenses than did whites, despite that fact that more than 2/3 of crack cocaine users in the U.S. are white or Hispanic. “Three Strikes”/habitual offender policies. Zero Tolerance policies as a result of perceived problems of school violence; adverse affect on black children. 35% of black children grades 7-12 have been suspended or expelled at some point in their school careers compared to 20% of Hispanics and 15% of whites.

Effects of Incarceration

A criminal record can reduce the likelihood of a callback or job offer by nearly 50 percent. The negative impact of a criminal record is twice as large for African American applicants. Infectious diseases are highly concentrated in corrections facilities: 15% of jail inmates and 22% of prisoners – compared to 5% of the general population – reported ever having tuberculosis, Hepatitis B and C, HIV/AIDS, or other STDs. In 2012 alone, the United States spent nearly $81 billion on corrections.
Spending on prisons and jails has increased at triple the rate of spending on Pre-K-12 public education in the last thirty years.

SOURCE: NAACP

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