Prisonsucks.com is a clearinghouse for useful, verifiable statistics about the crime control industry. Too often prison activists use statistics that are out of date, provided without citation or simply wrong. One of these days the public will start listening to prison activists, so let's be prepared to win without being sidetracked by arguments over defective statistics. In some cases, the numbers we need don't exist. In others, the facts exist but activists don't know where to find them. Now you do.
On December 31, 2005, there were 2,193,798 people in U.S. prisons and jails. The United States incarcerates a greater share of its population, 737 per 100,000 residents, than any other country on the planet. 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, 2006:
Gender is an important "filter" on the who goes to prison or jail, June 30, 2006:
Look at just the males by race, and the incarceration rates become even more frightening, June 30, 2006:
If you look at males aged 25-29 and by race, you can see what is going on even clearer, June 30, 2006:
Or you can make some international comparisons:
South Africa under Apartheid was internationally condemned as a racist society.
What does it mean that the leader of the "free world" locks up its Black males at a rate 5.8 times higher than the most openly racist country in the world?
Statistics as of June 30, 2006 from Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2006, Table 14. The "rates by race" statistics are calculated from the component parts of Table 14. South Africa figures from Marc Mauer, Americans Behind Bars: The International Use of Incarceration. All references to Blacks and Whites are for what the Bureau of Justice Statistics and U.S. Census refer to as "non-Hispanic Blacks" and "non-Hispanic Whites".)