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Corrections: Minority Populations
By Terry Campbell, Professor, Purdue University Global
Published: 06/30/2014


The field of corrections is always an interesting topic to discuss. Some of the components include the following: jails, prisons, probation, parole, and other community programs. These include facilities at the local, county, state, and federal levels and private prisons. I would like to begin by discussing corrections’ minority populations. This will be viewed as race and gender. Along with this will be information for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) offenders.

All corrections populations provide many challenges and dilemmas to those in the corrections field. These can often contribute to additional safety and security concerns. The first correction populations I will discuss are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) offenders. This minority population is increasing and corrections is implementing education and training programs for staff. Staff and officers need to understand the variety of issues these offenders will face. At the same time, they must be properly trained and prepared on a daily basis to deal with potential issues that may arise. Corrections personnel are challenged daily in providing a safe and secure environment for offenders. At the same time, corrections cannot lose sight of this and also consider any potential legal and liability issues.

This population in custody is at the highest risks of harassment, abuse, or exploitation. When these events occur, corrections can be faced with failure to protect and liability issues. Currently there are research projects and surveys being conducted in attempts to provide corrections personnel with sufficient information and current training to ensure a safe and secure environment for all inmates and staff.

A 2012 research project reflects approximately 6,900,000 offenders “under the adult correctional systems.” During this same time “1 in every 35 adults in the United States, or 2.9% of adult residents, was on probation or parole or incarcerated in prison or jail.” Approximately “1 in every 50 adult residents was supervised in the community on probation or parole.” (http://www/bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=4843).

Additional research provides the following statistics; approximately 3,900,000 offenders are on probation; approximately 850,000 offenders are on parole, and over 1,000,000 offenders are in prisons and jails. Statistics from 2013 reflects jail population by race, consists of the following: White inmates 47%; Black inmates 36%; Hispanics 15%; and other as 2%. You can conduct additional research for specific jail inmates by state and geographical location.

I retrieved some data from 2012 state and federal prisoners by race and gender. Male commitments, 542,940. The racial breakdown is for the following races; White 178,,843; Black 198,251; Hispanic126,005; and other 45,841. Females admitted during this same time frame reflect a total of 66,841 prisoners and races; White 32,685; Black 15,360; Hispanic 10,925; and other 7,872. (Prisoners in 2012: Trends).

The number of sentenced state and federal prisoners by gender and race in 2012 is 1,511,480. Male offenders are 1,410,191. White males are 451,252; Black males 527,768, Hispanics 315,234; and other 115,937 prisoners. The female prisoners are 101,289. White females are 49,352; Black females 23,386; Hispanic females 16,968; and other 11,584. (Bureau of Justice Statistics: Prisoners in 2012). Now if we do a comparison of all data provided, some interesting factors begin to surface.

A report was released from the 2012 Survey of Jails in Indian Country (NCJ 242187) reflects some interesting statistics: Indian Country experienced a 5.6% in inmates confined; the number of inmates admitted into Indian country jails was ‘more than five times the size of the average daily population; and fourteen jails held 51% of the total inmate population in Indian country. Now when we look at types of crimes, the largest percentages reflect a “third of the inmates in Indian country were confined for a violent offense. Domestic violence 15% and aggravated or simple assault 9% accounted for the largest percentage of violent offenders.”

I provided some additional topics you can research, reference the following:
  • Jail Inmates by Sex, Race;
  • Prisoners Under Federal or State Jurisdiction;
  • Sentenced state and federal prisoners released by age, sex, and race;
  • Releases from state prison by offense;
  • Estimated conditional releases from state prison by race;
  • Sentenced state and federal prisoners by sex;
  • Imprisonment rate of sentenced state and federal prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents by sex, race, and age;
  • Unconditional releases from state prison by race;
  • Admissions and release of sentenced prisoners by jurisdiction;
  • Incarceration rate disparity by race and reasons for this;
  • Number of prisons operating at above 100% of their capacity; and
  • Decline in number of offenders incarcerated.
You may ask yourself why you should even consider these statistics. These numbers reflect a tremendous amount of information not only beneficial to prison officials, but staff as well. By utilizing this information along with classification data we can supervise these offenders more effectively. We can also begin to understand how programming comes into play and can assist the offenders in making a change with behavior and other security concerns. We also recognize for change to occur the ‘offender must be willing to accept the responsibility and consequences for their own actions.’ Then positive changes will begin to occur.

I hope you will find this information useful and provide you with the interest to pursue and research the various data to enhance your corrections knowledge base.

Terry Campbell is a criminal justice professor at Kaplan University, School of Public Safety and has more than 20 years of experience in corrections and policing. He has served in various roles, including prison warden and parole administrator, for the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Terry may be reached at tcampbell@kaplan.edu.

Other articles by Campbell


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  4. devil woman on 08/05/2014:

    i have been fighting the prison system in maine for over 2 years trying to help an inmate in the windham correctional center. this man suffers daily an ive gone thru the proper channels only to be ignored ridiculed laughed at neglected ,all the same stuffas this man is dealing with but he is extremely ill .officials know about all of this right up to the governor and still ignored they never call when they say they will.i have promises from the previous commiioner IN writing that ive shown the new commissioner an been given the run around . ive contacted an begged every one i could to help me . our commissioner did absolutly nothing while knowing all along an still allowing it to continue. but i get no response when asking who will take responsibility for this mans health issues which if taken care of wouldnt have had to b tortured everyday for over 8 yrs. i have proof of all of this and am working with the civil liberties union and channel 6 investigating these prisons.due to deaths abuse denied medical treatment and other atrocities. with no consequenses. please help me its not right whats going on there, please contact me at 207 240 7522 or burnham.kathleen@yahoo.com as soon as possible i eagerly await your response or will you do as others an ignore my pleas Thank You for your time

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