Racial Disparity in Champaign County

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Below is a very brief overview of racial disparity in Champaign County, Illinois. Build Programs, Not Jails recognizes that racism is a central factor in the arrest and incarceration of our community members. We therefore find the collection of data on racial disparity invaluable in exposing the local face of structural racism.



In 2013, 67.8% of those admitted to state prisons from Champaign County were Black and 65.5% of those on parole from the Illinois Department of Corrections were Black.

From 2012-2015, the percentage of Blacks in the county jail population was consistently more than 50%. Five surveys of the population revealed percentages from 53% to 69%. (Blacks make up only 13% of the county’s general population.)

From January to April of 2015, 71% of those admitted to the Juvenile Detention Center were Black.



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From 2007-2011, 88% of jaywalking arrests in Champaign were of Black people, 91% of jaywalking arrests in Urbana were of Black people.

Black people are stopped while driving at nearly twice the rate of what should be expected given their distribution in the population.

African Americans and Latinos, on average, are ordered to pay more and higher fines than Whites and Asians.

African Americans make up nearly 95% of the individuals on the 2015 Housing Authority of Champaign County’s No Trespass List.

*Additional information on racial disparities in municipal offenses is available here: Racial Disparities in Municipal Offenses, Champaign County



38.2% of Black people in Champaign County live below the poverty level.

The unemployment rate of African Americans in Champaign County is 17.4%.



75% of all suspensions in Champaign District 4 schools (2012-2015) and 65.8% of all suspensions in Urbana District 116 schools (2011-2015) were Black students.

77.7% of all expulsions in Champaign District 4 (2012-2015) and 85.7% of all expulsions in Urbana District 116 (2011-2015) were Black students.

In 2011, 85% of all students who experienced disciplinary action in Champaign District 4 schools involving the police were Black.

Only 4.87% of incoming freshmen at UIUC are African American, a number that has steadily decreased over the last two years.

*Additional statistics on racial disparity in discipline in Champaign County public schools is available here: Racial Disparity in Champaign County Public Schools

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Sources: Illinois Department of Corrections; County Sheriff’s Office; Planners Network; ILPP Champaign County Criminal Justice System Assessment 2013; County Juvenile Detention Center monthly reports; County Probation Department monthly reports; Urbana Statistics Subcommittee Report 2015; Champaign Unit 4 Public Schools; Urbana District 116 Public Schools; Department of Education Civil Rights Data Collection; U.S. Census Bureau; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This data was compiled in 2015 by Build Programs, Not Jails


  1. So what your saying is “blacks” are more likely to commit the crime? This is quite a racist post. How would the original poster feel if someone posted such negativity about them or their race.


    1. That is not what these statistics are saying. Black people are not more likely to commit crimes, however they are significantly more likely to be charged with a crime and are selectively prosecuted, especially for drug crimes. Black people also face harsher sentences for the same crimes that white people commit, and harsher discipline for the same school infractions that white students commit. These statistics do not paint a picture of Black criminality. Rather, they paint a picture of structural racism. We believe the research we have done reflects negatively on Champaign County’s treatment of Black community members, not the community members themselves.


    2. “According to the Centers for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey, and the Monitoring the Future report from the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, it is white children, and not those of the urban ghetto who are most likely to use drugs. White high school students are seven times more likely than blacks to have used cocaine and heroin, eight times more likely to have smoked crack, and ten times more likely to have used LSD. What’s more, it is white youth between the ages of 12-17 who are more likely to sell drugs: one third more likely than their black counterparts; and it is white youth who are twice as likely to binge drink, and nearly twice as likely as blacks to drive drunk; and white males are twice as likely as black males to bring a weapon to school” (from here: http://www.timwise.org/2001/03/school-shootings-and-white-denial/)

      How do I feel about this? Even more outraged that blacks are targeted for criminal prosecution more often than whites even though whites are committing more actual crime.


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