Racial Disparities in the Use of Jail Across New York City, 2016-2021

For decades, Black and Brown communities have been disproportionately represented in New York City jails. The purpose of this report is to conduct a deep dive into current racial disparities, with the goal of producing empirical research that can inform and guide policy.

Accompanying this report are a set of interactive maps, which presents a visual demonstration of racial disparities within NYC neighborhoods.

Key Findings:

  • A Widening Black-White Gap in the Incarceration Rate from 2016 to 2021, when Black people citywide were jailed at a rate 11.6 that of white people.
  • Disparities in Jail Admissions in Every Borough.
    • Manhattan incarceration rates showed the most startling contrast; in 2016, Black people were jailed at a rate 23 times that of white people, which increased to 29.5 in 2021.
  • High Parole Violation Disparities & Rising Racial Disparities Among Pretrial Admissions.
    • While disparities were greatest for people admitted on parole violations across all years, there was not a recent shift towards this reality; instead, rising pretrial disparities largely explain the overall increase in racially disproportionate jail incarceration since 2016.
  • Jail Incarceration Concentrated in Mostly Black and Brown Neighborhoods (also, Black People are Disproportionately Incarcerated No Matter Where they Live).
    • Of the 178 NYC zip codes, 40 (23%) accounted for a vastly disproportionate share (60%) of 2021 jail admissions. In turn, 60% of these 40 zip codes are in Central or South Brooklyn (10) or the Bronx (14).
    • In 163 (92%) of all 178 NYC zip codes, a higher percentage of Black people were admitted to jail than live in the given zip code.
NYC Disparities Maps