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Cities, rural counties have highest incarceration rates in N.J., study finds

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Cities and small, rural counties had the most disproportionate incarceration rates in New Jersey, according to a new study by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and the Prison Policy Initiative. (Dana DiFilippo | New Jersey Monitor) While New Jersey cities continue to send the most people to prison, some of its most rural counties have disproportionately high incarceration rates, a new study says.

About half of the people now imprisoned in New Jersey come from its cities — Newark, Camden, Paterson, Trenton, Jersey City, Atlantic City, and Elizabeth, according to the report, released Thursday by the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice and the Prison Policy Initiative.

That might seem unsurprising, given cities have more people, more crime — and more police, especially in their low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

But researchers also found high incarceration rates in some of the state’s smallest counties, including Cumberland, Cape May, and Salem.

Henal Patel is director of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice’s democracy and justice program. Reformers already know some of the factors that contribute to higher incarceration rates in cities, such as over-policing, Patel said.

“New Jersey has the highest black-to-white racial disparity in incarceration in the country, where a […]

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