Wisconsin has a Black incarceration rate that is the highest in the nation and twice as high as the national average, according to a new report.
Last week, The Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C.-based research organization that advocates for the reduction of incarceration in the U.S., released the report, which also revealed that one in 36 African American adults in the state are currently in prison. By comparison, the study also says that nationwide, one in 81 Black adults per 100,000 is serving time in a state prison.
Despite Black people making up only 6 percent of the state’s population, they make up 42 percent of Wisconsin’s prison population and are incarcerated at 12 times the rate of white people, the report finds.
Additionally, Latino individuals are jailed at more than twice the rate of white people in Wisconsin, which is also more than the national average of 1.3 Latino people for every white person.
Clarence Nicholas, president of Milwaukee’s NAACP chapter says the numbers reflect centuries of systemic racism which has created disadvantages in housing, education, employment and more. He also said he was “disheartened but not surprised,” by the report’s findings, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
“The statistics aren’t surprising, but they continue to be deeply troubling,” Adam Plotkin, a legislative liaison for the State Public Defender Office, told the newspaper “We’ve known that Wisconsin is a leader in racial disparities within the criminal justice system for at least 20 years now.”
The report finds that twelve states have prison populations that are more than half Black, including Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Read more of the statistics here.