Racial Equity
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity

Not Available


Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity, 2015

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 our region doing?

In 2015, MetroWest had incarceration rates of 38 for every 10,000 Hispanic or Latino residents, 32 for black or African American residents, 25 for Native American residents, 10 for white residents, and 4 for Asian residents. In other words, the rate for Hispanic residents was 4 times higher than that of white residents, and among African Americans, the rate was 3 times higher than their white counterparts. Statewide incarceration rates were substantially higher for African Americans (55) and Hispanic residents (51), slightly higher among white residents (14), similar for Asian residents, and a bit lower for Native American residents (22).

While the region's incarceration rates have fluctuated year to year, the overall trend since 2000 is a decline in rates for African American, Hispanic and Native American residents, while the relatively low rates among white and Asian residents have remained flat.

Among the region's counties, Worcester had the highest incarceration rates for all racial and ethnic groups, but especially African American (57) and Hispanic (52) residents. Norfolk had the lowest rate for Hispanic residents (7), while Middlesex had the lowest for Black or African American residents (20).

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.

Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity, 2015
AsianBlack or African AmericanLatinoNative AmericanWhite
Massachusetts4.054.551.121.513.5
Region3.732.237.824.69.6
Middlesex4.420.335.029.97.7
Norfolk1.533.16.513.710.6
Worcester4.957.152.423.912.1

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




Number of Incarcerated People by Race/Ethnicity, 2015
AsianBlack or African AmericanLatinoNative AmericanWhite
Massachusetts1321,8942,625234,593
Region8238661591,531
Middlesex601212935625
Norfolk8110131374
Worcester141553093532

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




INDICATORS
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity
Infant Mortality by Mother's Race/Ethnicity
Children Living in Poverty
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
Single-Parent Families
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity
Disengaged Youth
Reports of Domestic Violence
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments
Households Without Vehicles
Means of Transportation to Work
Average Travel Time to Work
Households With Internet Access
Voter Participation Rate
Average Charitable Contribution
Protected Land
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate
Crimes Against People
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity
Change in Total Population
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity
Foreign-Born Population
Language Diversity
Population by Age
Change in Population by Age/Gender
Seniors Living Alone
People with Disabilities
Change in Total Jobs by Sector
Unemployment Rate
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Average Salary by Sector
High-Tech Jobs
Female to Male Earnings Ratio
Prekindergarten Participation
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Subgroup
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group
Chronically Absent Students
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group
Education Levels of Adults
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity
People Living in Poverty
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
Household Receiving Temporary Assistance
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity
Median Household Income
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity
Living Wage
80/20 Income Ratio
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity
Homeownership Rates
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Homeownership
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Rent
Cost of Rent, by Race/Ethnicity
Homelessness
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity
Infant Mortality by Mother's Race/Ethnicity
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity
Cost of Homeownership, by Race/Ethnicity


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