If you’re a social media expert, the title of this article probably comes as a shock. You’re most likely saying to yourself, “But black people are being killed by police at an all time high!” (false) or “There are more black men in prison than in college!” (also false).
The simple fact is…well…the facts. Black incarceration rates have declined from 1999 to 2014. For the past 6 years, the decrease has been consistent. Incarceration rates have dropped so drastically that the Justice Department recently stated they will no longer outsource the federal inmate population to private prisons (this is on a federal and NOT state level however). This news was so damaging to private prisons, Corrections Corp of America, a publicly traded company that operates private prisons in America, saw it’s stock drop over 35% in one day.
How much of a decrease is happening? Well for starters, black men have seen a 23% decrease in imprison rates while black women have seen a 49% drop. And what about the white prison population? It has actually been increasing. Strange right?
However, despite these numbers, no one seems to care….but I think I know why. According to a Washington Post article from August 16th, 2016 “Psychological research shows that human beings are not particularly good at updating their assumptions about the world in light of new data (e.g., crime is getting worse or better, the economy is strong or weak), often leading them to ignore or discount any information that doesn’t fit their standing views.” This can also be viewed today during Presidential rallies when people still consider America in a recession despite statistics constantly proving otherwise.
So what does this mean exactly? Is the black prison population still high? ABSOLUTELY!!! But this article is simply telling you that things are improving. With legislation coming down the pipeline decreasing non-violent crimes, this will only help as more blacks are sent to jail for non violent acts than violent crimes (rape, murder, assault, etc.). We as a nation are used to the recent News One narrative stating women of color are the “Fastest Growing Jail Population”. Then you notice their study is comparing today’s jail population with the 1970 inmate population and you realize their numbers are a bit skewed. A look at the jail population over the past 10 or 20 years gives a more accurate depiction of current trends, versus the past 45 years.