Institutional Segregation: The "New" American Apartheid?

Jeffrey M. London, University of Colorado at Boulder
Patrick Krueger, University of Colorado at Boulder

Using data from the National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP) for the years 1987 to 1997, this analysis uses time series methods to forecast the growth of minority members of the U.S. prison population into the years 2010 and 2020. For the purposes of modeling, multivariate Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) models were used. These models allowed us to account for autocorrelation, while controlling for factors that predict population growth among prisoners. The ability to specify disaggregating variables, such as race or age, can greatly increase forecast accuracy. Thus, causal rather than extrapolative models were used, which provide better estimates in times of relatively stable demographic trends. ARIMA models are exceptionally useful for this sort of analysis because they can be used to predict not only annual trends, but can also account for seasonal fluctuations. Results indicate that by the year 2010 an inordinate amount of African American males will be under supervision of U.S. jails and prisons and by the year 2020 nearly two thirds of all young African American males will be incarcerated.

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Updated 05/20/2006