To address prison overcrowding, Kansas must understand the racial disparities that exist in our system of mass incarceration, how they fuel our ballooning prison population, and potential remedies.
Our state prison population does not reflect the Kansas population on race. According to 2018 data from the Kansas Department of Corrections, 28% of our adult prisoners are African American, 12% Hispanic, 3% Native American, and 1% Asian. The 2010 Census shows that Kansas is 6% African American, 12% Hispanic, 1% Native American, and 3% Asian.
So, African Americans are represented in our prison population at nearly five times their share of the Kansas population, and Native Americans three times. Racial disparities also exist among juveniles in detention in Kansas, where 32% are black and 23% Hispanic.