WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Incarceration disparities based on age, sex, or race can foster public mistrust of the criminal justice system, which can in turn affect public safety outcomes. If the system is to be viewed as fair, it needs the support and cooperation of the public. When citizens distrust the criminal justice system, they are less willing to cooperate with police, provide witness testimony, and obey the law, thus impeding public safety. Addressing disparities in the criminal justice system, such as the disproportionate number of racial and ethnic minorities (especially blacks or African-Americans) represented in our nation’s prison population, is entirely consistent with a commitment to public safety and a fair system of justice.[i] Reducing unwarranted disparities can increase the justice system’s credibility, lead to more effective crime response and prevention, and develop greater equity in our community.
[i] D. Dumont, “Incarceration, Community Health, and Racial Disparities,” Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved 24, no.1 (2013): 78-88.