“We have found that these disparities persist,” said Ryan Gentzler, director of Open Justice Oklahoma.
Those are similar to Oklahoma prison-only populations using data from the Department of Correction for June. Comparisons with Hispanic representation were not possible due to outdated information from the census.
• Black Oklahoma people are incarcerated five times faster and American Indian Oklahomans more than twice as fast as white Oklahomans.
• One in 20 black Oklahoma males is in prison, five times that of white males. One in 50 American Indian males is in prison, double the rate for white men.
• Native women are imprisoned 3½ times as tall and black women as three times as tall as white women.
This is only the top level of the data; it does not answer why nor does it provide solutions.
Stats are great for crystallizing a problem or proving a theory, but they disinfect the damage. Behind every number there are people, thousands of people.
The problem of mass incarceration in Oklahoma is complex and multifaceted, starting with how the police stop criminals and extending to how and who is released.
From a broader perspective, it reflects the system of public education, mental health care and the development of the understaffed workforce.