Monday, February 22, 2016
Some good news that the experts are having a hard time explaining.
The imprisonment rate for black men has gone down by a fifth, and that for black women has gone down by half, since 2000.
The white rate for both sexes is up a bit. This may be due to tougher enforcement against drug and sex crimes, especially in rural areas, which whites commit more than blacks.
Why the black rate, and not just the black proportion, has gone down is more puzzling. Perhaps the police and the courts have become more conscious that they were imprisoning more black people than whites, even though the races commit the main crimes at about these same rate. The New Jim Crow, Black Lives Matter, and the higher attention given to mass incarceration in general seems to be helping.