UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

March 11, 2009

SOUTH LEADS NATION IN LOCK UPS - ESPECIALLY BLACKS

Institute for Southern Studies - One in 31 adults (7.3 million people) is under some form of correctional supervision. It's a historic high. The United States has the highest incarceration rate and the biggest prison population of any country in the world. Even though the United States represents only 5 percent of the world's population, it has 25 percent of the world's prison inmates.

When it comes to locking people up, Louisiana leads the South, and the South leads the nation. Simply put: the South has more of its population in prisons or jails than any other part of the country.

Since 1980, the country's prison population has quadrupled to more than two million, with the South accounting for nearly half of that increase.

The racial disparity of these policies has been tremendous: Nationally, black adults are four times as likely as whites to be under correctional control. One in 11 black adults -- 9.2 percent -- was under correctional supervision by 2008. And because the majority of African Americans live in the Deep South (the highest populations are in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Georgia respectively), the racial disparities of "get-tough" policies have been disproportionately felt there.

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