OMAHA – African Americans made up about 20% of arrests in Nebraska from 2014 – 2019, despite representing just 5% of the population, according to recent data from the Center for Public Affairs Research (CPAR) at UNO. American Indians/Alaskan Natives were also overrepresented, making up around 3% of arrests but just 1% of the population. White residents and Asians/Pacific Islanders were underrepresented in all six years.
This data comes as part of a larger study from CPAR along with the UNO School of Criminology and Criminal Justice of racial and ethnic disparities in contacts and experiences with the criminal justice system in Nebraska. The goal of measuring these disparities is to inform policy that will advance the principles of equal treatment under the law. Data from this study was recently presented to the Planning Committee of the Nebraska State Legislature, which is considering long-term policy solutions to the racial inequities Nebraska is facing today.
An in-depth report can be viewed here.
Senator Tony Vargas, Chair of the Planning Committee, stated, “The data presented by CPAR paints a familiar picture -- Black and Latino Nebraskans are overrepresented in our criminal justice system. As policymakers, we should be using this information to make institutional changes that will affect more equitable outcomes for our communities.”
Data on who is currently incarcerated reveals an even greater degree of racial inequity. As with arrests, White residents are significantly underrepresented in the incarcerated population in Nebraska, making up 87% of the general population but only 52% of the incarcerated population. African Americans are significantly overrepresented, comprising 4% of the general population but 27% of the incarcerated population.
CPAR, a unit in the College of Public Affairs and Community Service at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, collaboratively produces and disseminates high-quality public scholarship about topics that impact the lives of Nebraskans. All CPAR data and reports can be accessed at cpar.unomaha.edu. Data is freely available for public, journalistic, and other uses with proper attribution.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.