By Dr. Alex Mikulich, Research Fellow
As the U.S. is the global leader in incarceration, so Mississippi is a national leader. Mississippi has the second highest rate of incarceration in the nation, second only to Louisiana. Mississippi incarcerates its citizens at a rate of 735 per 100,000 population. The Sentencing Project reports that since 1988, the number of persons imprisoned in Mississippi has increased by 208 percent, from 7,384 to 22,754. The national growth rate during the same period is 133 percent. 
Mississippi is a case in point of Jim Crow’s rebirth. Nearly two-thirds of Mississippi prisoners are incarcerated for nonviolent property and drug offenses, compared to half the prison population nationally. Although African Americans comprise 37 percent of the state’s population, they represent 68 percent of those incarcerated. Conversely, although whites comprise 60 percent of the state’s population, only 31 percent of the state prison population is white. The Sentencing Project finds that Mississippi incarcerates African Americans at 3.5 times the rate of whites.
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