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Proportionality of Jail Bookings

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Proportionality of jail bookings for all races & ethnicities in Travis County

Indicator: Disproportionality ratios for bookings into the Travis County jail

Goal: Proportionate jail bookings for all races and ethnicities

Target: Proportionality by 2020

Key Trends: Blacks are more likely than Whites, Hispanics, or others to be booked into jail in Travis County. People identifying as Black account for about 21% of people booked into jail, but only 8% of Travis County’s adult population. This results in a disproportionality ratio of 2.6, which indicates a high level of disproportionate representation for the Black population.

According to the Sentencing Project, a national nonprofit which promotes sentencing reform and research on criminal justice issues, racial disparities challenge “the basic values upon which the criminal justice system rests.” Disparities in the criminal justice system may undermine public trust and confidence in the rule of law. As detailed in the ‘story behind the indicator’ section, disproportionalities are present in many other local systems.

what the data tell us

People arrested by the 14 law enforcement agencies in Travis County are generally booked into the Travis County jail. Blacks are disproportionately overrepresented in these jail bookings compared to their representation in the overall Travis County adult population. Blacks account for about 21% of people booked into jail, but only 8% of Travis County’s adult population, which indicates a high level of disproportionate representation for the Black population, resulting in a disproportionality ratio of 2.6. This level of disproportionality has been relatively constant over time.

Definition: The disproportionality ratio is calculated by dividing the representation of each racial and ethnic group booked into the Travis County jail by their representation in the general adult population. Disproportionality ratios are classified as follows: Comparable Representation (rates under 1.50), Moderate Disproportion (rates between 1.50-2.49), High Disproportion (rates between 2.50-3.49), and Extreme Disproportion (rates of 3.50 and over).

Data Source: Travis County Sheriff’s Office, American Community Survey. The disproportionality ratio classification system was developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy.

Data Considerations: Persons 17 and older may be booked into the Travis County jail. Solid estimates of the population of 17 years olds by race/ethnicity are not available on a yearly basis, and so the population booked into jail is compared to the general population age 18 and older. Comparison Data for the Over 18 Population includes the following Census categories: Black or African-American Alone, White Alone, Not Hispanic or Latino, and Hispanic or Latino. Any individuals not included in these categories are counted in the “Other” category. In Census Bureau surveys, a question related to Hispanic or Latino origin is asked separately from a question related to race. Therefore, the Hispanic or Latino category includes some people who also identify as “Black or African American” or “Other” race. The Black category on the graph is based on data that include small numbers of people who also identify as Hispanic. Based on 2014 Census data, about 4% of people in Travis County who report their race as Black or African-American Alone also identify as Hispanic or Latino.

the story behind the indicator

According to The Sentencing Project, the causes of racial disparity in the criminal justice system include: differential crime rates; race-neutral policies that have a disparate racial impact; implicit racial bias; resource allocation decisions; and criminal justice policies that exacerbate socioeconomic inequalities.

The Austin Police Monitor reports that “Blacks/African Americans were stopped at a rate above their representation within the City of Austin’s voting age population.” Once stopped by police, Blacks have a 1 in 6 chance of being searched. Hispanics have a 1 in 9 chance of being searched and Caucasians/Whites have a 1 in 22 chance of being searched. Blacks also levied “Use of Force/Response to Resistance allegations” more than any other racial group.

Disproportionality is found in a number of local systems. Addressing it requires a cross-cutting approach. Disproportionality in school discipline, child welfare, homelessness, and educational attainment decrease equity in our community and may influence contact with the criminal justice system.

a closer look

Click on one of the titles below for more information.

» Disproportionality Ratios for DAEP Removals in AISD

No race or ethnicity in Austin ISD is over-represented among the students who are removed from the classroom and referred to Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs (DAEP). This is the first time in the past five years that this has been so. Austin ISD has changed its approach to discretionary removals, and the placement of African-American students into DAEP has decreased over the last four years from 549 (24% of all placements) in the 2010-2011 school year to 270 (18% of all placements) in the 2014-2015 school year, a decline of about 51%. While a higher proportion of African American and Hispanic students are referred to DAEP, the rate of removals does not meet the standard for disproportionality.

Click this graph of Disproportionality Ratios for DAEP Removals in AISD for more information. Click on graph to view a data table of this information.

Definition: The disproportionality ratio is calculated by dividing the representation of each racial and ethnic group removed from AISD classrooms to DAEP by their representation in the general student population. Disproportionality ratios are classified as follows: Comparable Representation (rates under 1.50), Moderate Disproportion (rates between 1.50-2.49), High Disproportion (rates between 2.50-3.49), and Extreme Disproportion (rates of 3.50 and over). DEAP removals include both mandatory and discretional removals. Mandatory removals are offenses committed by a student that require that a student be removed to the DAEP. Examples may include: engaging in conduct punishable as a felony, committing assault with injury, selling or possessing a controlled substance, possessing a bb gun, air gun or a home made weapon, repeated gang related activity. Discretionary removals give the campus administrators the option of removing the student to the alternative learning center or keeping him or her enrolled in the home campus. Examples may include: involved in serious misbehavior (offenses that pose physical danger to the student, others or property) or persistent misbehavior (two or more violations of the student code of conduct in general or repeated occurrences of the same violation), involved in a gang or soliciting another person to become a member of a gang (1st offense).

Data Source: Texas Education Agency

» Disproportionality Ratios for Confirmed Victims of Child Abuse/Neglect, Compared to Total Population travis county, by Fiscal Years

African-American children in Travis County are more likely to experience child abuse or neglect than other groups. In Fiscal Year 2015, African-American children in Travis County made up about 20% of confirmed victims of child abuse or neglect, compared to about 8% of the total population under 18. This results in a disproportionality ratio of 2.4, indicating a moderate level of over-representation. This represents an increase from 2014, when the disproportionality ratio was 2.1. African-American children who are victims of child abuse in Travis County are also more likely than other racial and ethnic groups to be removed from their home by Child Protective Services. In Fiscal Year 2014, African-American children represented about 28% of children removed from their home after a CPS investigation, compared to about 8% of the total population under 18. This results in a disproportionality ratio of 3.5, indicating an extreme level of over-representation. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, as well as the Texas Center for the Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities, has worked to reduce this disproportionality statewide.

Click this graph of Disproportionality Ratios for confirmed victims of child abuse/neglect for more information. Click on graph to view a data table of this information.

Definition: The disproportionality ratio is calculated by dividing the representation of each racial and ethnic group’s confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect by their representation in the county’s child population. Disproportionality ratios are classified as follows: Comparable Representation (rates under 1.50), Moderate Disproportion (rates between 1.50-2.49), High Disproportion (rates between 2.50-3.49), and Extreme Disproportion (rates of 3.50 and over).

Data Source: Texas Department of Family and Protective Services The disproportionality ratio classification system was developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy.

Data Considerations: Population data are reported by DFPS using data produced by the Texas State Data Center. Population data are reported by DFPS using data produced by the Texas State Data Center. The Texas Population Estimates Program produces annual estimates of the total populations of counties and places in the state and estimates of county populations by age, sex, and race/ethnicity. As 2015 population estimates were unavailable for Travis County at the time this data was calculated, turnout is expressed as a percent of 2014 population. To provide consistency across analysis, population from one year prior to the DFPS release is used throughout. Racial and ethnic categories represent Texas Health and Human Services Commission standards and may differ from standards used by other agencies and organizations. These standards were adopted in 2012, therefore data on race/ethnicity are not directly comparable to data reported for 2011 and before. Data are reported by Fiscal Year

» Disproportionality Ratios for the Population that received homeless services, Travis County, calendar year 2015

Disproportionality among those who are experiencing homelessness is the greatest level of disproportionality found for any of the CAN Dashboard indicators. Blacks are nearly nine times more likely than Whites to experience homelessness in Travis County. Blacks are disproportionately overrepresented among the 4,771 people who received homeless services and who were assessed through the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition’s Coordinated Assessments. In Fiscal Year 2015, the disproportionality ratio for Blacks was 5.3 which indicates an extreme disproportion of overrepresentation.

Definition: The disproportionality ratio is calculated by dividing the representation of each racial and ethnic group that was homeless and stayed in shelter by their representation in the general population. Disproportionality ratios are classified as follows: Comparable Representation (rates under 1.50), Moderate Disproportion (rates between 1.50-2.49), High Disproportion (rates between 2.50-3.49), and Extreme Disproportion (rates of 3.50 and over).

Data Source: Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates

Data Considerations: By many data collection standards, Hispanic is considered to be an ethnicity rather than a race. The “White” category on the graph includes many Hispanics. There is some possibility that each racial group on the graph includes some Hispanics with the exception of the “Non-Hispanic” category.

» Disproportionality Ratios for Unemployment in Travis County

In 2014, African-Americans were more likely to be unemployed than any other racial or ethnic group. While African-Americans made up about 8% of the 16 to 64 working age population in Travis County, they made up approximately 11% of the unemployed population in 2014. This results in a disproportionality ratio of 1.7, indicating a moderate level of over-representation amongst the unemployed population. While the rate of disproportionality in unemployment appears to have increased in 2014, it is important to recognize that the American Community Survey data is based on a small sample size, so trends should be considered over longer periods of time.

Definition: The disproportionality ratio is calculated by dividing the representation of each racial and ethnic group that was unemployed in Travis County by their representation in the working age (18 to 64) adult population.

Data Source: American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates

Data Considerations: The ACS estimates population data through relatively small sample sizes. By many data collection standards, Hispanic is considered to be an ethnicity rather than a race. The Black and Asian categories on the graph are based on data that include small numbers of people who also identify as Hispanic. Based on 2014 Census data, about 4% of people in Travis County who report their race as Black or African-American Alone and less than 1% of people who identify as ‘Asian Alone’ also identify as Hispanic or Latino.

» Disproportionality Ratios for Educational Attainment Levels in Travis County, 2014

Hispanics are highly overrepresented among adults with no high school diploma. In 2014, people identifying as Hispanic or Latino accounted for about 76% of people with less than a high school diploma, but only about 30% of the total population over 25 years of age. This results in a disproportionality ratio of 2.6, indicating high overrepresentation.

African-Americans are moderately overrepresented among adults who are high school graduates, but have not gone on to pursue post-secondary education. In 2014, people identifying as Black or African-American Alone made up about 13% of adults over 25 with a high school diploma (or equivalent), but about 8% of the total population aged 25 and over. This results in a disproportionality ratio of 1.6, indicating moderate overrepresentation.

Definition: The disproportionality ratio is calculated by dividing the representation of each racial and ethnic group for each educational attainment level in Travis County by their representation in the adult population ages 25 and up.

Data Source: American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates

Data Considerations: The ACS estimates population data through relatively small sample sizes. By many data collection standards, Hispanic is considered to be an ethnicity rather than a race. The Black and Asian categories on the graph are based on data that include small numbers of people who also identify as Hispanic. Based on 2014 Census data, about 4% of people in Travis County who report their race as Black or African-American Alone and less than 1% of people who identify as ‘Asian Alone’ also identify as Hispanic or Latino.

» Disproportionality Ratios for Individuals Living in Poverty in Travis County

Minority communities in Travis County are more likely to experience poverty than the White population. In 2014, Hispanics were 2.9 times more likely than Whites to have incomes below the federal poverty level. Hispanics are moderately overrepresented in Travis County’s poor population compared to their representation in the overall population. While people identifying as Hispanic made up about 34% of the total population of Travis County in 2014, the same race/ethnic group made up about 54% of the population with incomes below the poverty level, resulting in a disproportionality ratio of 1.6.

Blacks were also much more likely than Whites to live in poverty (2.4x). In 2014, the Black population made up about 11% of people with incomes below the poverty level, but only 8% of the total population, resulting in a disproportionality ratio of 1.3. In contrast, people identifying as White Alone, Not Hispanic or Latino, made up about 27% of people with incomes below poverty thresholds, despite making up about half of the overall population.

Definition: The disproportionality ratio is calculated by dividing the representation of each racial and ethnic group that lived in poverty by their representation in the general population. Disproportionality ratios are classified as follows: Comparable Representation (rates under 1.50), Moderate Disproportion (rates between 1.50-2.49), High Disproportion (rates between 2.50-3.49), and Extreme Disproportion (rates of 3.50 and over).

Data Source: American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates

Data Considerations: The ACS estimates population data through relatively small sample sizes. By many data collection standards, Hispanic is considered to be an ethnicity rather than a race. The Black and Asian categories on the graph are based on data that include small numbers of people who also identify as Hispanic. Based on 2014 Census data, about 4% of people in Travis County who report their race as Black or African-American Alone and less than 1% of people who identify as ‘Asian Alone’ also identify as Hispanic or Latino.

» Disproportionality Ratios for the Uninsured population under 65 in Travis County

Over 13,000 more residents were insured in 2014 than 2013 in Travis County, thanks in large part to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Despite gains, Hispanics are still less likely to have health insurance than other races or ethnicities. According to the Migration Policy Institute, an estimated 6.7% of the population in Travis County are undocumented immigrants, and 71% of those undocumented immigrants do not have health insurance. Overall, Hispanics are 2.8 times more likely than Whites to be uninsured in Travis County. In 2014, people identifying as Hispanic or Latino accounted for about 60% of people under 65 lacking health insurance, but only 35% of the total population under 65.This results in a disproportionality ratio of 1.7, indicating a moderate level of disproportionality.

Definition: The disproportionality ratio is calculated by dividing the representation of each racial and ethnic group that was uninsured by their representation in the general population. Disproportionality ratios are classified as follows: Comparable Representation (rates under 1.50), Moderate Disproportion (rates between 1.50-2.49), High Disproportion (rates between 2.50-3.49), and Extreme Disproportion (rates of 3.50 and over).

Data Source: American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates

Data Considerations: The ACS estimates population data through relatively small sample sizes. By many data collection standards, Hispanic is considered to be an ethnicity rather than a race. The Black and Asian categories on the graph are based on data that include small numbers of people who also identify as Hispanic. Based on 2014 Census data, about 4% of people in Travis County who report their race as Black or African-American Alone and less than 1% of people who identify as ‘Asian Alone’ also identify as Hispanic or Latino.

» Disproportionality Ratios of Non-Voters in the 2012 Presidential Election, Travis County

Asian, Black, and Hispanic voters turned out at lower rates than the “other” population* in the 2012 Presidential election. Hispanics were 1.7 times, Hispanics were 1.5 times, and Blacks were 1.4 times more likely than the “other” group to be non-voters in Travis County. Nevertheless, based on the data available, the disproportionality ratio for all groups remains below 1.5, the level at which moderate disproportion exists. Opinion Analyst’s race and ethnicity is estimated by analyzing surnames.

*The “Other” population is likely to primarily consist of people who identify as “White.”

Definition: The disproportionality ratio is calculated by dividing the representation of each racial and ethnic group that voted in the 2012 general election in Travis County by their representation in the general adult population.

Data Source: Opinion Analysts, American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates

Data Considerations: The ACS estimates population data through relatively small sample sizes. Race and ethnicity is not reported by voters. Opinion Analyst’s race and ethnicity is estimated by analyzing surnames. Estimates of voter turnout by racial and ethnic group may not fully reflect voter turnout trends for each racial and ethnic group. The “Other” population is likely to primarily consist of people who identify as “White.”

some local efforts to improve this indicator

Collaborative Initiatives

  • CAN has worked with local leaders to facilitate dialogue on cultural competency, diversity, and inclusion. In 2013, CAN developed the Cultural Competency, Diversity, and Inclusion Toolkit to connect local organizations with free resources to improve cultural competency, diversity, and inclusion. CAN has also worked to host dialogues and trainings for local leaders on these issues. In 2015, CAN hosted four training sessions, specifically designed for senior staff from CAN's 28 partner agencies. CAN also released results of a Language Access Survey and continues to convene meetings of local stakeholders to consider how they can collaborate and share resources to better meet the language needs of our community's diversifying population.
     
  • Building Bridges: Brick by Brick is a steering committee co-chaired by Sheriff Greg Hamilton and Rev. Mike Manor. The committee's goal is to create meaningful and sustainable conversations between neighborhoods, churches, communities and law enforcement.
     
  • The Texas Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities, under the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, was created in 2011 as a result of Senate Bill 501. The Center is using a comprehensive approach that cuts across systems to reduce disparate outcomes for vulnerable populations. The Center also provides free trainings in racial bias to communities and organizations.
     
  • Undoing Racism Austin brings together a diverse group of stakeholders to address issues of disproportionality and provide resources and training.
     
  • Changes to state law have limited the extent to which students may receive tickets for Class C misdemeanor offenses while on school grounds. Locally, school districts and law enforcement agencies have worked to implement this law and reduce the number of students ticketed while maintaining safe campuses. The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition summarizes the changes that began for the 2013-2014 school year here. According to data reported by the Texas Office of Court Administration, in the first school year after implementation, courts across the state experienced an 83% drop in court filings for Class C misdemeanor violations that fall under the Education Code.
     
  • Austin Independent School District’s Cultural Proficiency and Inclusiveness department, part of the Department of Social and Emotional Learning, works to promote these principles within the district. The department provides professional learning opportunities for staff to enhance their ability to serve a diverse school community.
     
  • Local law enforcement entities have implemented multiple outreach strategies to work with minority youth in the community including utilizing school resource officers, Police Activity Leagues, Police Explorer programs, and prevention activities associated with the Joint Juvenile Gang Unit (Austin Police Department, Travis County Sheriff’s Office, and AISD).
     

vulnerable populations