RACE & THE FORT
This is actually a recent development at The Fort:
- In 1939, 10 percent of the prison population were categorized as “colored” — which included African Americans and Native Americans.
- In 1860, just 5 percent of prisoners were non-white.
In recent years, Iowa has the worst black-to-white rate of incarceration in the nation — 13.6-to-1, according to a 2007 study by the Sentencing Project, a research and advocacy group for criminal justice reform.
So what has changed? Several factors have contributed to the rise in minority population at the Iowa State Penitentiary, including:
- Mandatory minimum sentencing requirements
- Increased prosecution of urban, property, and drug crimes
- Comparatively light prosecution and sentencing of rural and domestic/child abuse crime
For more, click here: Iowa still near top for locking up blacks, study says, Des Moines Register, June 15, 2016
RACIAL INTEGRATION AT THE FORT
If today’s ISP population suggest structural racial issues, the ISP of yesteryear was in many ways racially progressive.
The Iowa State Penitentiary has always had integrated prisons, prison sports team, prison education classes, worship services, and music groups — reflecting the fact Iowa never had slavery or Jim Crow laws, like neighboring Missouri.
*NOTE: Statistics as of 2015.