Fewer black people incarcerated

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It's rare that we receive any good news about black people and prisons. So cherish this tidbit. The federal government reported in early-December that the number of imprisoned black people in the U.S. has declined by about 18,400 since 2000. That reduces the total number of black people in prison to about 591,900 as of December 2008.

Illinois
mirrors that trend, albeit over a shorter time span and with narrower
margins. Between 2006 and 2008, the number of black people imprisoned
here dropped by 323 people to a total of 26,772, according to Illinois Department of Corrections annual reports.
Granted,
across the U.S. black males are still imprisoned at a rate 6.5 times
higher than white males and about 3 times higher than Latinos. Black
women are incarcerated at a rate 3 times higher than white women and
twice as high as Latinos. 
But the reduction
in the black prison population means 61,000 fewer black people were in
state or federal prisons than expected by the end of 2008 (based on
2000 levels). 
Most of the reduction appears
to come from decreases in drug-related incarceration of
African-Americans. In April, the D.C.-based Sentencing Project reported
a 22 percent decline in the number of black inmates in state prisons
for drug offenses, from about 145,000 in 1999 to 113,500 in 2005. 
Meanwhile,
the judiciary busied itself warehousing more white and Latino people.
From 2000 to 2008, the prison population for white people increased by
57,200 to a total of 528,200. During the same time period, the Latino
prison population increased by 96,200 to a total of 313,100.

Photo courtesy Flikr/Dana Gonzales

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  • This is indeed good news, and thanks for sharing it! I had been getting depressed reading all the Chicago Breaking News Center. Still work to do, but inspiring stats.

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