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Imprisoned Imperceptions: Inaccuracy in Incarceration Demographic Stereotypes
Unformatted Document Text:  Incarceration Beliefs Table 4 Implied estimates of social group incarceration rates Social Groups Implied Estimated Incarceration Rate Actual Incarceration Rate N Females 9.65% 0.10% 343 High School Graduates 10.30% 0.50% 341 Mentally Ill 31.37% 2.28% 335 Whites 11.32% 0.36% 343 Blacks 38.92% 2.51% 344 Latinos 23.86% 0.73% 342 Actual incarceration rates for each social group were based on the following calculation: The actual proportion of a particular social group in the prison population was multiplied by the actual proportion of U.S. citizens in the prison population (.76%). This product was then divided by the actual proportion of the particular social group in the U.S. population. For example, approximately 7% of the prison population is female, and 51% of the U.S. population is female. Therefore, the actual incarceration rate for females is (.07 X .0076)/.51= .001043, or .10%. 36

Authors: Ragusa, Laura.
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Incarceration Beliefs
Table 4
Implied estimates of social group incarceration rates
Social Groups
Implied Estimated 
Incarceration Rate
Actual 
Incarceration 
Rate
N
Females
9.65%
0.10%
343
High School Graduates
10.30%
0.50%
341
Mentally Ill
31.37%
2.28%
335
Whites
11.32%
0.36%
343
Blacks
38.92%
2.51%
344
Latinos
23.86%
0.73%
342
Actual incarceration rates for each social group were based on the following calculation: The actual 
proportion of a particular social group in the prison population was multiplied by the actual 
proportion of U.S. citizens in the prison population (.76%). This product was then divided by the 
actual proportion of the particular social group in the U.S. population. For example, approximately 
7% of the prison population is female, and 51% of the U.S. population is female. Therefore, the 
actual incarceration rate for females is (.07 X .0076)/.51= .001043, or .10%.
36


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