These are the highest rates in the country, easily eclipsing the next-closest state, Mississippi. These disparities are most pronounced for people serving the longest sentences who were sentenced as emerging adults (18- to 24-year-olds.) Failure to address the needs of emerging adults has exacerbated racial inequities and driven a system that incarcerates people decades beyond any public-safety benefit.
When 25 officers stand accused of 236 criminal counts of violence against people already being punished by serving time sequestered away from their lives and loved ones, we must confront our country’s racial history and implications for the criminal-justice system, including how they manifest in disparities in incarceration.
Sadie Rose-Stern, Washington
The writer is director of communications and external affairs for the Justice Policy Institute.