White -- 24.1%
Black -- 29.1%
Hispanic -- 40.5%
Other -- 6.3%
This means that three-fourths of all inmates are non-White, an amount not reflective of the population at large.
What accounts for such racial disparity?
If it is racial profiling in California, then where is that racial profiling happening? At the street level with arrests, at the prosecutor level with criminal filings, at the trial level with juries/defense attorneys and/or other people within the judicial system?
Do the problems of racial profiling in California lie out there in "society" at such deep economic, political and social levels that origins cannot be found?
One organization that is trying to quantify, assess and address the problem is the Vera Institute of Justice Prosecution and Racial Justice program. The organization is partnering with prosecutors in San Diego and other cities to collect and assess data on criminal filings to see whether and to what extent racial disparities are being perpetuated by district attorney filing decisions.
As issues of racial profiling in California as elsewhere have returned to the spotlight, and prisons are bursting beyond capacity with people of all races, it is essential that we take a critical look at where inequities are located at every level of the system.