Bruce Western

Bruce Western is a sociology professor at Princeton.

Recent Articles

Lawful Re-entry

On an average day in 2000, more than 10 percent of all black American men in their 20s were either in prison or in jail. Most of them had very little schooling. About one in three black male high-school dropouts were behind bars. A black man reaching his early 30s was nearly twice as likely to have a prison record than to hold a bachelor's degree. And young black men with no college education were more than twice as likely to have been to prison than to have served in the military. The ubiquity of incarceration among young black men, which I studied with sociologist Becky Pettit, is striking. Today, incredibly, around 60 percent of black male high-school dropouts now in their mid-30s have prison records. Prison time averages 28 months, so for black men with low levels of education, imprisonment for two years or more has indeed become commonplace. One longtime advocate of prisoners' rights, Angela Davis, observed at a forum in New Orleans earlier this year, "In the black community,...