Where People in Prison Come From: The geography of mass incarceration

report logo What communities do people who are incarcerated come from? It's a simple question, with huge implications, that until recently was impossible to answer. However, thanks to recent reforms to end prison gerrymandering in more than a dozen states, the data is finally available to answer it.

We partnered with organizations in each of these states to collect this data, and we're making it available to advocates, researchers, organizers, journalists, and others. Our hope is that they'll use it to better understand how mass incarceration harms communities and correlates with other measures of community well-being.

Below you'll find these state-specific datasets (as they become available), along with links to initial analysis and visualizations that show the geography of mass incarceration in the United States.


thumbnail of Maryland census tract map Maryland was the first state to end prison gerrymandering. Working with the Justice Policy Institute we produced the data that shows every community in the state is harmed by mass incarceration, with Baltimore and Eastern Shore counties hit particularly hard.

We created 9 data tables that show the number of people from each community known to be in the state's prisons at the time of the 2020 Census. See the data by:

Read our report, Where People in Prison Come From: The geography of mass incarceration in Maryland.

We also did a version for 2010, entitled The Right Investment?: Corrections Spending in Baltimore City.


thumbnail of New Jersey census tract map Working with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice we found dramatic differences in incarceration rates within neighborhoods in Newark, one of the most racially segregated cities in the nation.

We created 8 data tables that show the number of people from each community known to be in the state’s prisons at the time of the 2020 Census. See the data by:

Read our report, Where People in Prison Come From: The geography of mass incarceration in New Jersey.


thumbnail of New York census tract map New York was among the first states to end prison gerrymandering. Working with Voices of Community Activists and Leaders (VOCAL-NY) we produced the data that shows communities in Upstate New York are disproportionately incarcerated in state prisons.

We created 13 data tables that show the number of people from each community known to be in the state’s prisons at the time of the 2020 Census. See the data by:

Read our report, Where People in Prison Come From: The geography of mass incarceration in New York.

We also did a version for 2010, entitled Mapping disadvantage: The geography of incarceration in New York State.




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