As the national inmate population has increased in recent decades, the impact of these changes on minority communities has been particularly dramatic. Two-thirds of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities, and for black males in their twenties, one in every eight is in prison or jail on any given day. Moreover, black males born today have a one in three chance of going to prison during their lifetime, compared to a one in seventeen chance for white males. These trends have been exacerbated by the impact of the "war on drugs," with three-fourths of all drug offenders being persons of color, far out of proportion to their share of drug users in society. Racial disparity in the criminal justice system is a product of a number of factors - higher rates of involvement in some offenses, social and economic disparities, legislative policies, and the use of discretion by criminal justice decision makers.
Our staff and consultants produce policy and practitioner materials on racial disparity, as well as providing technical assistance to jurisdictions addressing these issues.