America lives with the deep shame of slavery and Jim Crow apartheid. There should also be deep shame with the realization of what black men in America face today. This is a “new Jim Crow.”
A detailed analysis of state corrections records by the UWM Employment and Training Institute shows incarceration rates at epidemic levels for African American males in Milwaukee County. Over half of black men in their 30s in the county have been incarcerated in state prisons (1990-2012). Statewide, 49% of black men in their 30s have already served time in state prison.
Wisconsin’s prison population has more than tripled since 1990, fueled by increased government funding for drug enforcement (rather than treatment), investments in prison construction, three-strikes rules, mandatory minimum sentence laws, truth-in-sentencing replacing judicial discretion in setting punishments, concentrated policing in minority communities, and state incarceration for minor probation and supervision violations. Particularly impacted were African American males with 40% of black male prisoners showing drug offenses.
Given the high levels of racial and economic segregation in Milwaukee County, two-thirds of the county’s incarcerated black men came from 6 zip codes in the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee.
A third of the 26,222 men incarcerated had only non-violent offenses.
Another 27,874 men (non-offenders) have driver’s license violations, mostly for failure to pay fines and civil forfeitures, preventing them from legally driving.
View the UWM Employment and Training Institute analysis at: