Skip to main content

Wisconsin leads nation in black male incarceration rates

Posted in

Shocking facts released in new study on Wisconsin's mass incarceration


Wisconsin has the highest black male incarceration rate in the United States, according to the 2010 decennial census. The rate (1 out of 8 African American men ages 18-64 were in state prisons and local jails in April 2010) is nearly double that of the nation as a whole and 32% higher than the next worst state (Oklahoma). The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute released a new study on Wisconsin’s Mass Incarceration of African American Males: Workforce Challenges for 2013.

The prison population in Wisconsin has more than tripled since 1990, fueled by increased government funding for drug enforcement (rather than treatment) and prison construction, three-strike rules, mandatory minimum sentence laws, truth-in-sentencing replacing judicial discretion in setting punishments, concentrated policing in minority communities, and state incarceration for minor probation and supervision violations.  Particularly impacted were African American males, with the 2010 U.S. Census showing Wisconsin having the highest black male incarceration rate in the nation. In Milwaukee County over half of African American men in their 30s have served time in state prison.


Link to one page executive summary

Link to full report


Share this