Dammit, I hate being right all the time. A few days ago, in response to the “more black men are in prison than in college” claim, I said:
One things I’ve learned about social scientists. When they present you with answers to the wrong question, it’s because the answer to the right question didn’t fit their agenda.
Well, someone decoded the socio-speak.
According to 2005 Census Bureau statistics, the male African-American population of the United States aged between 18 and 24 numbered 1,896,000. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 106,000 African-Americans in this age group were in federal or state prisons at the end of 2005. See table 10 of this report. If you add the numbers in local jail (measured in mid-2006), you arrive at a grand total of 193,000 incarcerated young Black males, or slightly over 10 percent.
According to the same census data, 530,000 of these African-American males, or twenty eight percent, were enrolled in colleges or universities (including two-year-colleges) in 2005. That is five times the number of young black men in federal and state prisons and two and a half times the total number incarcerated. If you expanded the age group to include African-American males up to thirty or thirty five, the college attendees would still outnumber the prisoners.
Again, the incarceration rate is too high. But the hysteria is unwarranted, especially when the solution is fairly obvious:
End the War on Drugs.