Disparities in Legal Intervention Deaths
Methods: Using vital statistics data available through CDC’s WISQARS, we examined deaths due to “legal intervention” from 1999-2013. State-specific death rates per 100,000 were determined for non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites. The ratio of death rate for blacks to death rate for whites was calculated to indicate how many disproportionately more blacks than whites die due to legal intervention. States were excluded if either race had 20 or fewer legal intervention deaths.
Results: From 1999-2013, there were 6338 deaths due to legal intervention in the US. Nationally the rate of legal intervention deaths among blacks was 2.73 times higher than the rate among whites, ranging from 1.25 times higher in Louisiana to 8.50 times higher in Massachusetts. All states with lower ratios than the national ratio were in the South. The states with the highest ratios were in the Northeast and Midwest.
Conclusions: Significant disparities exist in the rates at which blacks and whites die from legal intervention. Further research is needed to understand the circumstances surrounding these deaths. In the meantime, police departments can acknowledge this disparity and take steps to improve it. The Chicago Police Department is working to improve relations with community residents through efforts such as extensive procedural justice training and partnering with the YMCA on the “Bridging the Divide” program.
Public health or related public policy
Describe national vital statistics data regarding the disparities in the rates at which blacks and whites die from legal intervention.
Keyword(s): Police Brutality, Social Justice
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Strategic Director of the Injury Prevention and Research Center at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Childrenâs Hospital of Chicago. I oversaw formation of and now direct the Strengthening Chicagoâs Youth (SCY) violence prevention collaborative, which is building capacity among stakeholders--including researchers, police and community partners--in multiple sectors to connect, collaborate and mobilize around a public health approach to violence prevention.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
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