Census of State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 2000:
Diversity among Correctional Employees and Inmates in
Texas and California
The California and Texas penal systems are among the nation's largest; California
remains to contain the largest number of inmates, while Texas closely follows.
can be argued that these two systems define the nation's prison system as it is their images
that are conveyed to the public and the rest of the world.
These states are among the most
diverse in the nation.
Yet does the correctional employee population and inmate population
reflect this diversity?
Since 1990 crime rates have slightly fallen, and at the same time, so have
victimization rates also declined (Feeley & Simon, 1992; Schicor, 1997).
Yet the number of
residents sentenced to prisons has steadily increased (Austin & Fabelo, 2004; Irwin & Austin,
2001; Gillespie, 2004). The number of correctional facilities has also increased within these
two decades (1980-2000).
The total number of state prison facilities in the mid-70s totaled
only 600 meanwhile in 2000 this number grew to 1,320 (Lawrence & Travis, 2004).
and Austin (2001) referred to this trend of mass incarceration as an “imprisonment binge,” in
which the majority of prisoners are “poor African-Americans with juvenile records and/or
multiple crimes and have histories of drug use (Pollock, 2004:77).”
Statistical evidence from numerous sources shows that African Americans and
Hispanic-Americans are over-represented in the inmate population.
For example, in 1990 the
incarceration rate for African-American men was 2,234 per 100,000, yet in 2002, this number
rose to 4,810 per 100,000 persons.
During these same years, the incarceration rate for
Hispanic men rose from 1,016 to 1,740 per 100,000.
However, for Caucasian men this rate
was 338 in 1990 and 649 in 2002 (Pollock ,2003).
While most prisoners are men,
there is a
growing number of women being imprisoned, many of them minorities.
Irwin and Austin
(2001) noted that between the years of 1983 and 1998, the number of incoming women
344%, while men only increased 207%.
Still, women only comprise of
6.7% of all prisoners (Pollock, 2004).