racial equity
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity

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Source: Vera Institute of Justice

What does this measure?

The number of people incarcerated in local jails by race/ethnicity, expressed as a rate per 10,000 residents of that race/ethnicity.

Why is this important?

Incarceration serves to remove offenders from a community, but also creates hardships on families, including the loss of an income or a caregiver, in addition to long-term effects on mental health for all involved. After incarceration, people often encounter challenges in obtaining meaningful employment, leading to reductions in long-term productivity, recidivism and widespread effects on a community's social, health and educational systems. Disparities in this rate by race or ethnicity can highlight structural differences in how communities are affected and treated by the public safety and criminal justice system.

How is Norfolk County doing?

In 2018, Norfolk County had incarceration rates of 39 for every 10,000 Black or African American residents, 14 for Native American residents, 13 for Hispanic or Latino residents, 8 for white residents, and 3 for Asian residents. In other words, the rate for Black or African American residents was more than 4 times higher than that of white residents.

Statewide incarceration rates were substantially higher for African Americans (60) and Hispanic residents (49), somewhat higher among white residents (13), and similar for Native American (13) and Asian residents (4).

While the County's incarceration rates have fluctuated year-to-year, the overall trend since 2000 is a decline in rates for all groups with the exception of Asian residents, which held relatively steady from 2000 to 2018.

Norfolk had the lowest rate for Hispanic residents (13) and the second highest for African American residents, behind Essex County (68).

Why do these disparities exist?

Scholars have tied numerous factors to disparities in incarceration, including racialized stereotypes, policies and practices and community conditions. Stereotypes that portray Black and Latino people, especially males, as inherently dangerous, criminal, and violent lay the foundation for police surveillance and disparate and harsher treatment by the criminal justice system. Communities of color are more likely to be under surveillance and policies such as stop and frisk perpetuate increased police contact. Punitive drug laws have had disproportionate impact on Black and Latino communities. Even though Blacks and whites have similar rates of drug use, Black people are more likely to be arrested and experience harsher sentences. In general, whites experience less harsh sentenced when convicted of similar crimes as Black and Latinos. Given economic disparities, people of color are less likely to experience pre-trial release after arrest. The concentration of Black and Latino communities in highly segregated communities with limited economic opportunities and ineffective schools may also foster crime involvement.

Notes about the data

National data for subgroups is not available.

snapshot
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity, 2018
AsianBlack or African AmericanLatinoNative AmericanWhite
Norfolk County2.939.112.713.68.5
Essex County3.268.247.311.517.1
Middlesex County1.629.320.20.05.4
Massachusetts3.759.748.913.312.7

Source: Vera Institute of Justice
Notes: Rates are per 10,000 residents




Number of Incarcerated People by Race/Ethnicity, 2018
AsianBlack or African AmericanLatinoNative AmericanWhite
Norfolk County18145301291
Essex County71425451616
Middlesex County261871860426
Massachusetts1372,2152,820144,217

Source: Vera Institute of Justice
Notes: Figures are for the total jail population. The total jail population is the average daily population.






INDICATORS
Change in Total Population
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity
Language Diversity
Foreign-Born Population
Population by Age
People with Disabilities
Voter Registration
Voter Participation
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Change in Total Jobs
Unemployment Rate
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Living Wage
Median Household Income
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity
Income in Relation to Poverty Level
People Living in Poverty
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity
People Living in Poverty by Age
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity
Females Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity
Seniors Living in Poverty
Share of Workers who are Professionals by Race/Ethnicity
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity
Access to Financial Services by Race/Ethnicity
Student Performance on Grade 3 English by Student Subgroup
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity
Overall Housing Cost Burden
Median Home Value
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Homeownership
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Renting
Cost of Rent by Race/Ethnicity
Households Receiving SNAP
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity
Food Insecurity
Households Without Vehicles
Means of Transportation to Work by Race/Ethnicity
Protected Land
Percent of Days with Good Air Quality
Early Prenatal Care
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions
People 65 or Older Living Alone
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity
Females Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity
Share of Workers who are Professionals by Race/Ethnicity
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity
Student Performance on Grade 3 English by Student Subgroup
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Rent by Race/Ethnicity
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity



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