Friday, November 17, 2017

19 Million Felons in the United States

There were 19 million current or former felons in the United States in 2010—nearly four times the 5 million of 1980, according to a study published in the journal Demography. "Development of the population with felony convictions since 1980 has been one of widespread, racialized growth," reports the study.

Felons (current or former) accounted for 8 percent of the adult population in 2010—more than double the 3 percent of 1980, according to the analysis. Among African Americans, the share grew from 8 percent in 1980 to 23 percent in 2010. "Depending on the state," say the researchers, "between 1 in 10 and 1 in 3 African American adults are confronting the daily reality of limited citizenship rights, diminished job prospects, and stigmatization." Among Black men, 33 percent had a felony conviction as of 2010, up from 13 percent in 1980. The only bit of good news is that the 33 percent of 2010 was slightly lower than the 36 percent of 2000.

"The United States' decades-long 'grand experiment' with mass incarceration may be at a crossroads," conclude the researchers, "but at current rates of decline, some estimate it would take 80 years to return to 1980 levels nationwide."

Source: Demography, Volume 54, Issue 5, The Growth, Scope, and Spatial Distribution of People with Felony Records in the United States, 1948–2010, ($39.95)

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