1. Black women make up 6 percent of San Francisco’s population, yet made up 45.5 percent of all women arrested there in 2013.
San Francisco is known as perhaps the most liberal and inclusive city in all of America, but that reputation means little for the black women its police department places in handcuffs. According to the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice, black women have been arrested at higher rates than other races of women in the city for the last 23 years at least. In every major arrest category, including possession, prostitution, weapons, drug felonies and marijuana, black women far outpace other races of women. Perhaps the most notable arrest disparity cited in the report is that arrest rates of black women in San Francisco are four times higher than the rest of California.
2. In New York City and Boston schools districts, black girls are suspended and expelled at much higher rates than white girls.
During the 2011-2012 school year, 90 percent of all girls suspended were black, according to a recent report titled, “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected.” Not one white girl was suspended that year. Boston was no better. Sixty-three percent of the girls subjected to expulsion were black during the same time frame, but no white girls were suspended.
3. Black women were locked up in state and federal prisons at more than twice the rate of white women.
Overall, black women make up 30 percent of the prison population, despite being 14 percent of the U.S. population, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. There are a wide range of reasons why these disparities exists. A Huffington Post article cites a lack of economic resources, familial support, and systematic oppression as driving actors.
4. Black mothers in New Jersey are more likely than their white counterparts to be deemed “unfit parents.”
New Jersey Public Radio learned through its own investigation that the children of black mothers are four times more likely to be placed in foster care than the children of white mothers. Black children make up just 14 percent of the state population but account for 41 percent of those entering foster care. The report found that even if the mothers are at similar economic levels, the black mothers were still viewed as more unfit that white moms, so this is not a class issue.
5. Dark-skinned black women receive stiffer prison sentences in North Carolina than light-skinned black women for comparable crimes.
In a study titled “The Impact of Light Skin on Prison Time for Black Female Offenders,” researchers found that black women who were perceived to be lighter skinned received sentences that were 12 percent lower than darker skinned women.
6. States that drug test pregnant women disproportionately jail black women.
At least 17 states consider drug use during pregnancy to be child abuse,according to Guttmacher Institute. Pregnant black women are no more likely to use drugs than white women during pregnancy, but they are reported to child welfare services for drug use at rates higher than white pregnant moms,according to a 2015 report by the Drug Policy Alliance.
7. More than half of all of women stopped by the NYPD are black.
In 2013, the most recent year from which arrest data is available, black women made up 53.4 percent of all arrests in New York City. Latina women were second at 27.5 percent and white women made up only 13.4 percent.
8. Black girls make up 14 percent of the U.S. population but make up more than 33 percent of girls detained or committed at juvenile justice system.
Willingham, whose research focuses on the incarceration of black women, says we see a higher rate of black girls behind bars than white girls because they aren’t getting the same support at the juvenile level. A recent report that analyzed how the sexual abuse girls experience can lead to incarceration points out that black girls make up a third of female juveniles detained or committed. Most girls in the juvenile justice system have experienced some form of sexual assault at some point during their lives. However, Willingham says black girls are less likely than white girls to get the rehabilitative support needed to decrease their chances of recidivism.