Wisconsin compared to other states incarcerates its minority population at an unusually higher rate than its European-American population. In fact, the process of incarcerating in Wisconsin shows that some workers in the criminal justice system use bias and stereotypes to determine sentences.

While many people suggest the criminal justice system does not show bias and doesn’t intentionally give longer sentences according to race, there is proof that Wisconsin shows much prejudice in its criminal justice system. Research by Patti Cofey, professor of at the UW-Madison, shows that nationwide the average incarceration rate of African-American men is 6.7 percent, yet Wisconsin’s average is 12.8 percent. This problem is worsened by incarcerating the minority youth at such an early age, or incarcerating people for minor crimes and mixing them with people that have committed high offenses.

It is frustrating to know that “Wisconsin was second-worst in the ratio of blacks in prison or jail compared to whites with around 11 blacks incarcerated for every white inmate,” according to the Wisconsin’s Extreme Racial Disparity 2017 report.

During an interview conducted by James E. Causey with author Bryan Stevenson, Stevenson said Wisconsin is “without truth and reconciliation due to the disparities people see in it’s criminal justice system.” This issue is growing, and the sooner we deal with it as a state, the better.


Janesville Parker

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