An inmate walks through the yard at the North Central Correctional Institution in Marion, Ohio, which recently switched to private management.
A by a UC-Berkeley graduate student has surprised a number of experts in the criminology field. Its main finding: Private prisons are packed with young people of color.
The concept of racial disparities behind bars is not exactly a new one. Study after report after working group has found a version of the same conclusion. The Sentencing Project estimates , compared with 1 in 6 Latino men and 1 in 17 white men. are four times as high for black Americans as for white. Black in federal prisons than their white peers for the same crimes.
These reports and thousands of others have the cumulative effect of portraying a criminal justice system that disproportionately incarcerates black Americans and people of color in general.
Sociology Ph.D. student Christopher Petrella's finding in "The Color of Corporate Corrections," however, tackles a different beast.
Beyond the historical overrepresentation of people of color in county jails and federal and state prisons, Petrella found, people of color "are further overrepresented in private prisons contracted by departments of correction in Arizona, California and Texas."
This would mean that the racial disparities in private prisons housing state inmates are even greater than in publicly run prisons. His paper sets out to explain why — a question that starts with race but that takes him down a surprising path.
For the rest of the story: http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/03/13/289000532/why-for-profit-prisons-house-more-inmates-of-color