This report examines a concept called the “cradle to prison pipeline.” It is a review of some of the basic statistics at each stage of this pipeline: childhood, school, juvenile justice, early adulthood, and imprisonment. For each stage, we present basic trends and disparities across race, place, gender, and other demographic variables.
Research has shown that highlighting racial disparities can actually increase support for policies that perpetuate inequality, such as “stop and frisk.” With caution, this report maintains a focus on disparities, particularly between Black and white residents, because those are indicative of problems within systems and not the inherent criminality of individuals or populations. In fact, our city has seen improvement in racial disparities at the same time as we made systemic changes like diversion programs and juvenile detention alternatives. But there is still work to do. After improving for seven consecutive years (2002-2009), the disparity between Black and white jail rates has remained consistent for the last decade. Black residents are three times as likely to be imprisoned as white residents.