Study: Black Male High-School Dropouts Have High Prison Risk

Research shows 70% have a chance of going to prison

black man in prisonA new study from the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project shows alarming statistics about the prison risk that African American men who do not complete high school face.

With data that shows the cumulative risk of imprisonment for men by age 30-34, the study shows that black men born between 1975-79 who are in their 30s now, and without a high school diploma, have a 70 percent chance of going to prison.

To take things a little further, the data also shows that African American children born to high school dropout fathers have a 50 percent chance of seeing their father incarcerated by their fourteenth birthday.

RELATED: Graduation Rate Reaches Historic High, But Achievement Gaps Remain

These alarming statistics should serve as a wake up call, with continued reports showing that the country’s achievement gap still exists and that despite a national high graduation rate, only 69 percent of African American students are actually graduating high school.

In addition to low graduation rates, it’s also evident that racial discrimination exist within the American criminal justice system, with studies showing that more blacks are likely to be arrested and convicted of a crime than their white counterparts. In 2011, black teens were amongst the lowest minority group to abuse drugs, yet studies from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention show that in the same year approximately 600,000 black teens were arrested for drug abuse compared to approximately 400,000 white teens.

Earlier this week, Dr. Cornel West spoke in Albany, NY at a rally against solitary confinement and according to Democracy Now he touched on the racial disparities that exist within the criminal justice system saying, “Solitary confinement is torture, and it’s a crime against humanity to lock folks up when 60 percent of them are there for soft drugs, and everybody knows 12 percent of those are on the chocolate side, 12 percent of those are on the vanilla side of flying high in the friendly skies every week taking drugs, but 65 percent of the convictions are chocolate.”

See the detailed charts below with results from the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project study.

black male prison rate

Image: Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project


black father prison rate

Image: Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project

  • Anon

    Again, why refuse to go to the root cause instead of looking at secondary effects. According to the Urban Child Institute, 85% of black children here in Memphis are born to unwed mothers. That means they get less than half the raising/training/human capital of those in an intact family. That’s why our schools are so violent they are completely dysfunctional, and result in nearly half dropping out. That’s why our nightly news is a parade of black males charged with brutal gangland assaults and murders. That’s why its perfectly logical for law enforcement to police much more aggressively in black communities, which are so dangerous that whites dare not even enter them. If your focus is on discrimination in the criminal justice system, then you are COMPLETELY missing the causation and have no hope whatsoever of remedying the problem. Please stop beating your heads against a wall and wasting our hard-earned tax dollars.

    • MsPeaceful

      I understand what you are saying, blacks sometimes create their own demise! I wish they would stop blaming the white man for their problems… they can go out and take up classes and learnt eh system to be come future Accountants, Engineers, doctors, Fireman,CEOs inventors, and Master Teachers.

  • MsPeaceful

    WOW! NO SURPRISE HERE…. can’t tell black folks nothing to quick to pick up A GUN AND CURSE SOMEONE OUT TRYING TO HELP… blacks blame the white man for their problems… A white man didnt tell you to drop out of school sell drugs, rob people make babies and dont be responsible!

  • Pingback: 5 Hard Facts That Prove Education Is Still Not Equal()