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I co-founded the Prison Policy Initiative to put the problem of mass incarceration — and the perverse incentives that fuel it — on the national agenda. Over the last 16 years, our campaigns have protected our democracy from the prison system and protected the poorest families in this country from the predatory prison telephone industry. Our reports untangle the statistics and recruit new allies.

But now, more than ever, we need your help to put data & compassion into the conversation. Any gift you can make today will be matched by other donors and go twice as far.

Thank you.
—Peter Wagner, Executive DirectorDonate

Section I: Crime & Punishment in the U.S.

Police and public confidence

  • Percent of public reporting a great deal of confidence in the police, 200150: 57%
  • Percent of Whites reporting a great deal of confidence in the police, 200151: 59%
  • Percent of African-Americans reporting a great deal of confidence in the police, 200152: 38%
59% of Whites and 38% of African-Americans have a great deal of confidence in the police
  • Percent of people aged 18-29 reporting a great deal of confidence in the police, 200153: 45%
  • Percent of people making over $75,000 a year reporting a great deal of confidence in the police, 200154: 66%
  • Percent of people making under $20,000 a year reporting a great deal of confidence in the police, 200155: 48%
  • Percent of public that has a great deal of respect for their local police, 196556: 70%
  • Percent of public that has a great deal of respect for their local police, 200057: 60%
  • Percent rating the local police excellent at being helpful and friendly, 200058: 37%
  • Percent rating the local police excellent at preventing crime, 200059: 21%
  • Percent rating the local police excellent at solving crime, 200060: 16%
  • Number, per 1,000 residents, in a motor vehicle stopped by police in 199961: 109
  • Number, per 1,000 residents aged 18 to 19 years, in a motor vehicle stopped by police in 199962: 225
  • Percent of White people believing local police treat people of all races fairly, 200063: 69%
  • Percent of African-American people believing local police treat people of all races fairly, 200064: 36%
  • Percent of Hispanic people believing local police treat people of all races fairly, 200065: 63%
69% of Whites and 36% of African-Americans believe the police treat all races fairly
  • Percent who report sometimes being afraid of being stopped and arrested when they are completely innocent, 200066: 17%
  • Percent of White people who report sometimes being afraid of being stopped and arrested when they are completely innocent, 200067: 14%
  • Percent of African-American people who report sometimes being afraid of being stopped and arrested when they are completely innocent, 200068: 36%
  • Percent of Hispanic people who report sometimes being afraid of being stopped and arrested when they are completely innocent, 200069: 22%
  • Percent of people making more than $75,000 who report sometimes being afraid of being stopped and arrested when they are completely innocent, 200070: 12%
  • Percent of people making less than $15,000 who report sometimes being afraid of being stopped and arrested when they are completely innocent, 200071: 29%

This page is an excerpt from The Prison Index: Taking the Pulse of the Crime Control Industry (April 2003) by Peter Wagner, published by the Western Prison Project and the Prison Policy Initiative.

Footnotes

50 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.16.

51 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.16.

52 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.16.

53 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.16.

54 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.16.

55 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.16.

56 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.27.

57 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.27.

58 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.28.

59 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.28.

60 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.28.

61 Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2001, The National Data Book. Table 317

62 Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2001, The National Data Book. Table 317

63 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.29.

64 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.29.

65 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.29.

66 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.30.

67 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.30.

68 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.30.

69 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.30.

70 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.30.

71 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2000, Table 2.30.

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Events

  • November 29, 2017:
    Legal Director Aleks Kajstura will be in DC speaking at the congressional Democratic Women’s Working Group dinner about women’s mass incarceration.

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