What are the racial sentencing disparities when it comes to incarcerations, and are there any regional variations in these disparities?

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According to The Sentencing Project, the United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, with 670 out of every 100,000 Americans currently imprisoned. This number has increased sharply beginning in the 1980s and beginning to decline slowly in the last decade. Overall, non-white Americans are more likely...

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According to The Sentencing Project, the United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, with 670 out of every 100,000 Americans currently imprisoned. This number has increased sharply beginning in the 1980s and beginning to decline slowly in the last decade. Overall, non-white Americans are more likely to be incarcerated. One in every seventeen white men (about 6%) will be incarcerated at some point during their life, while one in every three black men will (33%) and one in every six Latino men (17%). For women, the difference is even more dramatic. One in every 111 white women (less than 1%) will go to prison in her lifetime, while 5.5% of black women, one out of eighteen, will. For Latina women, one in forty-five will serve time in prison, a rate of around 2%.

Looking at incarceration statistics by state reveals notable differences in incarceration rates by state. The states with the highest rate of incarceration are Louisiana (760 of every 100,000 residents), Oklahoma (673 of every 100,000), Mississippi (624 of every 100,000). Arizona and Arkansas also have high rates, with more than 500 of every 100,000 residents incarcerated. The states with the lowest rates have less than one third as many as the highest states. The following all have less than 2% of their population incarcerated: Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Vermont. In general, northern states have lower rates of incarceration, while southern states have higher rates. There are some exceptions to this, such as New Mexico’s relatively low rate (329 per 100,000) and Idaho’s higher rate of 489 per 100,000.

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