Originally Published In
International Journal of Education and Social Science
Black males are overrepresented in US large jails, and this overrepresentation may extend into their isolations units, or DHUs. While overrepresentation in prison populations has been explored and well documented in academic literature. Far less is known about overrepresentation in jail populations where prisoners serve far less time, and in some cases, may not yet be convicted of crimes. The study analyzed the classification of adult male prisoners to DHU within large jails. This central research question of the study primarily focused on exploring the causes and prevalence of overrepresentation in DHUs in jails based on race or ethnicity. The theoretical construct of this study was based on Foucault’s (1975) theory of panopticism. The purpose of this quantitative study was first to document whether an overrepresentation problem existed among US large jails. The sample for this study included wardens or directors of 40 large jails across the US. Data were collected by an electronic survey and were analyzed by logistic regression. Findings indicate a statistically significant relationship between race and ethnicity and the potential placement in DHUs, particularly among adult Black male populations. This statistical finding indicates that Foucault’s panopticism theory does not address correctional staff training and potential bias.