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Black people comprised 42% of incarcerated individuals in Wisconsin state and federal correctional facilities in 2020, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. In comparison, Black people made up 6% Of Wisconsin’s overall population in the 2020 Census. Reports from earlier years using official data show similar findings.

According to an analysis by The Sentencing Project, Wisconsin has the highest Black imprisonment rate in the nation. One in 36 Black adults in the state is in state prison, compared to one in 81 Black adults nationally. 

A University of Wisconsin study examined how the 53206 ZIP code in Milwaukee has a particularly high rate of Black male incarceration, with 42% of all Black men there between the ages of 25 and 34 in the state corrections system or under active community supervision in 2013.


US Bureau of Justice Statistics: Prisoners in 2020 — statistical tables: Appendix table 2

US Census: Wisconsin 2020 census

The Sentencing Project: The color of justice: Racial and ethnic disparity in state prisons

Vera Institute of Justice: Incarceration trends in Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin Madison: The Anatomy of Concentrated Disadvantage in an Inner City Neighborhood 2000-2017

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Jacob Alabab-Moser / Wisconsin WatchFact Checker

Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.