Wisconsin has the highest rate of African-American incarceration of any state in the nation

This week, the highly-respected Sentencing Project released a report on the rate of imprisonment for African American people in the US.  You can read it here:  The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State PrisonsYou can read an article about the report here: Wisconsin Watch articleThe report shows that in our country, an African-American person is five times more likely to be incarcerated in a state prison than a white person is.  Amid this grim national picture, Wisconsin again has the highest rate of African-American incarceration of any state in the nation.  Nationally, one out of every 81 Black people is in prison; in Wisconsin, it is one out of every 36.  While only about 6% of Wisconsin residents are African-American, 42% of the state prison population is African-American.

 

The report lays out some of the specific reasons for this tremendous disparity.  But, it makes clear that the blame is shared by many, including the general lack of equal opportunity for Black people throughout our society.

 

In Wisconsin, we think of ourselves as fair and friendly people.  We don't imagine ourselves as the harshest, least hospitable people in the country.  Still, the results tell a different story.  Ten years ago, a national study showed Wisconsin to have the highest incarceration rate for African-American people, and this week we have learned that we still hold that reprehensible #1 position.

 

In the coming days and weeks, WISDOM leaders will be laying out plans to respond to this report.  It is time for our state to recognize that significant things have to change if we want to live up to our values.  In the meantime, please take a minute to look at the report and/or read the article.  And, please share them with someone. 

 

Though it is embarrassing, we can't let this be a secret.  Our state can't solve its big problem until it acknowledges that it exists.

Sent to WNPJ by David Liners office@wisdomwisconsin.org