A study released a few days ago by researchers at UW-Milwaukee shows that Wisconsin, long known to be among the worst in racial disparities in the criminal justice system, is in fact the worst — by a long shot.
Using 2010 census data, the study shows that 12.8 percent of the state's African-American men are now behind bars in state prison or local jails, twice the national average of 6.7 percent.
Wisconsin's rate far exceeds the 9.7-percent incarceration rate for African-American men in Oklahoma, which come in at No. 2 on the list. (It's interesting to note that at 2.1 percent, Oklahoma also has the highest rate of incarcerating white men.)
According to the report, one in eight black men in Wisconsin is now behind bars — a staggering statistic, especially given that the rate for white men is 1.24 percent, or 1 in 81 men — almost identical to the national average.
The report shows that Wisconsin also leads the nation in the rate of locking up Native American men, 7.6 percent, just ahead of South Dakota, where 7.3 percent of Native American men are behind bars.