The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Saturday, January 24, 2004
Those US incarceration rates...
Everything's bigger in America may be at its truest in relation to estimates of national self-worth . But here's a stat where it's right on the money (and this). (Nothing new here: just some self-education.)
I get up this table (PDF) of state incarceration rates  in 2001 from casual interest. The average for that year was 422 per 100,000: the range was 127-800.
Of the top ten (range 800-492), the Confederacy accounts for six (LA, MS, TX, AL, GA, SC); other slave states two (MO, DE); with the rest having had legal segregation, to some extent, during the Jim Crow era (OK, AZ).
Of the bottom ten (range 243-127), five are New England states (MA, VT, NH, RI, ME) - Connecticut ranks 22nd (387); the rest from the Mid-West (NE, MN and ND) and West (UT), together with Union slave state West Virginia .
It's a puzzle (that no doubt employs armies of socio- and other ologists) how these differences might be accounted for. Why, for instance, Mississippi and Arkansas (motto: Thank God for Mississippi) should have rates so different: 715 vs 447.
And (with current events in mind) why, after ten years or so of Governor Howard Dean, Vermont should need a rate of 213 whilst nearby Maine could keep order with just 127.
free website counter