Racial Disparities Plague Connecticut Prisons

Oct 16, 2020

A Hearst Connecticut Media analysis of state data finds racial disparities persist in Connecticut prisons. It found 42 percent of Connecticut inmates are Black, although Black residents make up just 12 percent of the state’s population.

Wanda Bertram is with the Prison Policy Initiative, a non-partisan nonprofit in Western Massachusetts. She said Connecticut should consider the long-term ways incarceration hurts communities of color.

“Formerly incarcerated people have an unemployment rate of about 27 percent. That’s worse than anybody experienced during The Great Depression. And Black men and Black women have it even harder. Black women who have been to prison have an unemployment rate of about 44 percent — it’s just hard to wrap your head around that," Bertram said.

Bertram said Connecticut should address the factors like poverty and unequal policing that lead to more Black people in the criminal justice system.

While Connecticut’s prison population decreased overall after reforms, the proportion of Black people in state prisons is higher than the national average of 40 percent.