One-Third Of All Black Children Arrested In Madison, Wisconsin (VIDEO)

Wisconsin’s capital city arrested nearly one-third of the Black children who live there in 2013.

Only about seven percent of Madison, Wisconsin residents are Black. An estimated 3,247 Black children, between the ages of 10 and 17, live in the capital city.

In 2013, the last year for which city-wide crime statistics were available, police arrested more than 1,000 Black children in that age group. That’s almost a third of the city’s population of Black children.

A 2013 report from the American Civil Liberties Union found that more more than 80 percent of the children who are sent to state juvenile detention centers from Madison’s Dane County are Black youth. Many Black children are arrested for normal childhood behavior, yet charged with crimes like “disorderly conduct.” According to, a Black child is 14 times more likely to be arrested for disorderly conduct in Madison, than a white child.

The arrest rate for Black adults living in Madison is 10.9 times higher than the arrest rate for white citizens. While only a small fraction of the population is African-American, Black citizens account for 45 percent of all arrests made in the city.

At the national level, Blacks are arrested at a rate that is disproportionately higher than their white counterparts. While white Americans are arrested at a rate of 3.4 per 100, Black Americans are arrested at a rate of 7.9 per 1oo, more than twice as often.

The national disparity rate of arrests is horrible in its own right, but it dwarfs in comparison to what’s going on in Madison. Black adults living in Wisconsin’s capital city are arrested at a rate of 27.6 per 100, more than three times the national average. Again, nearly one-third of the population.

When it comes to drug arrests, things get even worse. Way worse. Black citizens living in Madison are 97 times more likely to be arrested on drug charges than white citizens. That’s in spite of the fact that we know more white people use drugs than Black people.

And the disparities in Madison don’t begin and end with the number of Black people arrested in the city, either. One of the most startling and nauseating statistics on Wisconsin’s Dane County, 75 percent of Black children live in poverty, compared to just five percent of their white counterparts.

While the city ranks among the top ten places to live in the U.S. for white people, it ranks near the bottom for Black people.

A new documentary film, Forward: Anger Into Action, will take a closer look at the racial disparities that exist in Wisconsin’s capital city. Watch the trailer below, courtesy of Jamie Quam’s Indiegogo.

*Featured image credit: nycscout via Flckr, creative commons 2.0