Incarceration is not an equal opportunity punishment
On December 31, 2002, there were 2,033,331 people in U.S. prisons and jails. That's a rise of 3.7% during the 12 previous months, more than twice the growth rate of the previous year. The average annual increase since 1995 has been 3.6%.
As of December 31, 2002, the U.S. incarceration rate was 701 per 100,000 residents. But when you break down the statistics you see that incarceration is not an equal opportunity punishment.
U.S. incarceration rates by race, June 30, 2002:
* Whites: 353 per 100,000
* Latinos: 895 per 100,000
* Blacks: 2,470 per 100,000
Gender is an important "filter" on the who goes to prison or jail, June 30, 2002:
* Females: 113 per 100,000
* Males: 1,309 per 100,000
Look at just the males by race, and the incarceration rates become even more frightening, June 30, 2002:
* White males: 649 per 100,000
* Hispanic males: 1,740 per 100,000
* Black males: 4,810 per 100,000
If you look at males aged 25-29 and by race, you can see what is going on even clearer, June 30, 2002:
* For White males ages 25-29: 1,615 per 100,000.
* For Latino males ages 25-29: 4,339 per 100,000.
* For Black males ages 25-29: 12,877 per 100,000. (That's 12.9% of Black men in their late 20s.)
Or you can make some international comparisons:
South Africa under Apartheid was internationally condemned as a racist society.
* South Africa under apartheid (1993), Black adult men: 851 per 100,000
* U.S. under George Bush (2002), Black adult men: 7,150 per 100,000
What does it mean that the leader of the "free world" locks up its Black men at a rate 8.4 times higher than the most openly racist country in the world?