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Racial Disparities

America’s criminal justice system is marred by a startling and unfair impact on marginalized communities. People of color are disproportionately arrested, sentenced and incarcerated when compared to white people accused of similar offenses. For example, black people make up approximately 12.9 percent of the general population, but about 39 percent of those in prisons and jails in the U.S in 2008. Reforms to the criminal and juvenile justice systems must include a concerted effort to decrease the disparate impact on communities of color.

Here you can find JPI reports, briefs and factsheets on the disparate impact of the justice system on communities of color and ways policymakers and administrators can address these concerns.

Billion Dollar Divide: Virginia's Sentencing, Corrections and Criminal Justice Challenge
Billion Dollar Divide points to racial disparities, skewed fiscal priorities, and missed opportunities for improvements through proposed legislation, and calls for reforms to the commonwealth…
Virginia's Justice System: Expensive, Ineffective and Unfair
Virginia's Justice System: Expensive, Ineffective and Unfair points to reforms that, if implemented, would result in relief for Virginians directly impacted by the justice system and taxpayers alike.
BAIL REFORM UPDATE 2013: Pretrial Services Programs Refined and Expanded Their Reach, while the Bail Industry Continued to Fight Forfeiture Collection and Non-financial Release
This brief provides an update on pretrial and bail reform over the last year as a follow up to JPI's 2012 Bail Month Report Series.
Incarceration Generation Timeline
The Justice Policy Institute's 2013 published "Incarceration Generation," a coffee-table book of essays detailing the rise of mass incarceration over the last 40 years, features this pull-out…
Two New Reports Show Juvenile Confinement Reform in Five States
Removing young people who engage in delinquent behavior from their homes and communities and incarcerating them, is no longer the status quo in five states, say two new reports by JPI.
Bailing on Baltimore: Voices from the Front Lines of the Justice System
Third report in the series on bail that connects the first two quantitative reports on money bail and the for-profit bail industry to the actual experiences of people who have been involved in the…
Testimony of Justice Policy Institute Before the Maryland Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights
The Justice Policy Institute recently testified before the Maryland State Advisory Committee on civil right violations generated from racial disparities in the Maryland justice system. As the U.S.…
The Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System
The report examines the impact of the criminal justice system on Native Hawaiians. Detailing how Native Hawaiians are disproportionately impacted at various stages of Hawaii’s criminal justice…
A Capitol Concern: The Disproportionate Impact of the Justice System on Low-Income Communities in D.C.
D.C. has the greatest income inequality of any major city in the country, suffering from major economic and racial disparities that contribute to high rates of justice-involvement.
The Vortex: The Concentrated Racial Impact of Drug Imprisonment and the Characteristics of Punitive Counties
Since 1970, the U.S. has experienced a large and rapid increase in the rate at which people are housed in federal and state correctional facilities. Currently, the U.S. incarceration rate is 491 per…
Disparity by Design: How Drug-Free Zone Laws impact Racial Disparity-and Fail to Protect Youth
Thanks to the work of concerned policymakers and reform advocates across the country, public discussions have been sparked in many states about the fairness and efficacy of drug-free zone laws.
Race & Imprisonment in Texas: Policy Brief
America's criminal justice policies have had a disproportionate impact on African Americans, Latinos and other communities defined as non-White.
Racial Divide: California's 3 Strikes Law
California’s Three Strikes law has been plagued with questions about racial fairness since the beginning.
Race and Incarceration in Maryland
This policy brief will paint a general picture of the scale of overrepresentation of minorities in the state’s prison system, focusing particularly on the overrepresentation of African…
Reducing Racial Disparities: Reducing Disproportionate Detention of Minority Youth - Pathways 8
Over the past two decades, the Annie E. Casey Foundation has organized and funded a series of projects aimed at safely minimizing populations in juvenile correctional facilities through fairer,…
Reducing Disproportionate Minority Confinement: The Multnomah County, Oregon Success Story and its Implications
The vast majority of youth in a detention center are awaiting trial for non-violent acts, and many should not be held in locked custody.
Drugs and Disparity: The Racial Impact of Illinois' Practice of Transferring Young Drug Offenders to Adult Court
As a result of laws passed in the mid-80s, 99% percent of the youth in Cook County, Illinois transferred to adult court for drug crimes are African-American or Latino.