Annual prison count shows racial disparities persist behind bars

Despite New Jersey’s prison population being cut in half over the last 10 years, racial disparities exist at roughly the same rate they did a decade ago, according to the state’s annual inmate count.

Yannick Wood, director of criminal justice reform at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, said because incarceration in New Jersey is “deeply racialized,” he worries disparities will remain “stubborn.”

“We’re at the highest number of people incarcerated since the pandemic began, and we have the worst racial disparity in the nation,” he said. “We need New Jersey to lean into policies to reduce detention and incarceration, and to address the root causes of crime. Only then can we begin to address these racial disparities.”

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