I didn’t realize how bad. I know that others here (and readers) know far more about this than I do. But really? 1 in 100 U.S. adults are behind bars? I have recently been feeling that we’re moving to a moment of Marx’s revenge. It may not be proletariat and bourgeoisie, but I feel like we’re stretching out into two groups. I did a little thought experiment. How many people do I know who are in jail? None. And I’m not talking about friends here. I’m also thinking about my extended networks. I don’t know anyone. Given that 1 in 9 black men between 20 and 34 are in jail, the answer for other Americans is, a lot.
I looked at the map of prisoner increases by state (see after the break). But my prediction was wrong. Where would you guess the increase is?
I would have said, “California, Texas, New York and maybe some other states with major cities”. I was wrong. Granted with state-level data I can’t see if it’s happening in cities. But with Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Dakota, and a bunch of Southern states leading the way, I am thinking that this isn’t really a big cities phenomena. I’m not that surprised by the South, as there’s been considerable migration of Blacks back to the south (I think it was some half a million people in the 2000 census), and they are the most commonly incarcerated population.
But really, I’m just surprised. It’s very sobering.
ADDED: Just chatted with my colleague Carla Shedd about this. She guessed right about where the increases would be. Her explanation was that the high areas were states where there were “racial threats” that are comparatively new (because of migration) or aggravated by job loss/threat.