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States That Lead in The Imprisonment of Black People


The Sentencing Project is a national organization that focuses on how crime and punishment are fulfilled in the U.S. with hopes to bring awareness, reform, and change to the system. One of the many efforts by the group has been researching and sharing information focusing on the rate of incarceration based upon the color of one’s skin. In one report released in 2021, Dr. Ashley Nellis went into detail about the rate of incarceration of black people by state.

Below are the results of Dr. Nellis’ findings.


Highest Concentration of Black People Incarcerated

As highlighted on the map and detailed in her report, Dr. Nellis found Wisconsin led the U.S. with the highest concentration of black people incarcerated when focusing on adults (people 18 years or older) per 100,000. Wisconsin had a rate of incarcerating 2,742 individuals per 100,000. Massachusetts had the lowest rate of incarceration with 466 per 100,000 individuals. The average of all 50 states combined was 1,413 per 100,000 individuals.

In an article by NBC News, University of Wisconsin-Madison law professor Ion Meyn noted that one reason this could be is that “prosecution rates are higher and plea deals are lower for Black residents.”

Were You Unjustly Incarcerated?

No one should be unjustly incarcerated, but it happens far too often in the U.S. The attorneys at HDR Law work to fight for human rights across the country and are ready to help you and your case. Reach out for a free, confidential consultation today.