in the criminal justice system.
The majority of all federal, state and local prison and jail inmates in
the United States today are members of minority racial or ethnic groups.
incarceration rate for Blacks is 7.66 times that for Whites and
approximately four times their proportion in society at large. While
Blacks make up approximately 12.5 percent of the U.S. population, in
1997 approximately 47 percent of state prison inmates were non-Hispanic
Blacks. While approximately 11.5 percent of the U.S. population is
Hispanic, 16 percent of the state prison population is Hispanic. As of
December 31, 1998, 57.8 percent of the total Federal inmate population
was White (including White Hispanics), 38.9 percent Black, 1.7 percent
Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1/6 percent Native American. Additionally,
30.3 percent of federal prisoners were identified as Hispanic (who can
be of any race, though the overwhelming majority of Hispanics in the
U.S. are classified as White for racial purposes). The reasons for these
disparities are complex and disputed