Race and Class in the US Criminal Justice System

Race and Class in the US Criminal Justice System

The United States incarcerates more people per capita than any other country. Economic bias contributes to individuals making contact with criminal justice system professionals and leads to significant social disadvantage after individuals leave incarceration and return home. The economic burden of incarceration is not limited to the individuals we incarcerate – this burden spreads to their families – keeping or pushing families and communities into poverty. Research indicates that individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, or Persons of Color have substantially and significantly higher rates of incarceration when compared to White individuals.

This brief training presents current research on economic and racial disparities in the US criminal justice system and potential solutions. It is suitable for professionals at all levels of the criminal justice system who are seeking to better understand clients and incorporate practices that can help to create a more equitable system.

At the end of this training, trainees will understand:  

  • How economic bias contributes to people getting involved in the criminal justice system
  • How incarceration pushes families and communities into poverty
  • The prevalence and impact of economic disparities in the criminal justice system
  • Statistics and trends in equity research throughout the criminal justice system
  • How race and socio-economic class contribute to differential experiences for justice-involved individuals
  • Practices that can be incorporated to help create a more equitable system


Training length: 1 hour

Continuing Education Units (CEUs): This training earns 1 CEU. Attendees who wish to receive CEUs will receive a certificate of completion immediately upon earning an 80% or above on the training post-test. They may use this certificate to verify CEUs earned by submitting it to their licensing board. 

Training type: Video

Training cost: $49.99 ON SALE NOW* $25.99 *Use code IJRD50off at checkout for a limited time. 

Need help or have questions? Contact Amberly Prykhodko at aprykhodko@fsu.edu



Facilitator and Training Developer: Davonna McArthur, BA

Davonna McArthur (she/her) is a Project Coordinator for a multi-state, multi-site randomized controlled trial of an innovative well-being-based behavioral health intervention, the 5-Key Model for Reentry, designed to help individuals leaving incarceration to thrive. McArthur spearheads the coordination of services and research activities across a geographically dispersed team of more than 50 individuals. Prior to her promotion to Project Coordinator, McArthur served IJRD as a Project Support Specialist, helping to connect with study participants after their release from incarceration and conducting research interviews. In this role, she interviewed hundreds of study participants about their experiences of trauma, mental health and substance use disorders, employment and educational goals, and well-being. She conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with participants about how their lives were affected by the 5-Key Model for Reentry and what improvements could be made to both the model itself and how the model was delivered to them in the community. McArthur’s professional preparation in criminology and criminal justice highlighted deep racial and economic disparities in criminal justice-involved populations; she joined IJRD to improve racial, economic, and behavioral health equity across the justice system through the identification of data-driven solutions to criminal justice reform.

Training Developer: Carrie Pettus, PhD, MSW

Dr. Carrie Pettus (she/her) has 25 years of experience identifying service gaps for individuals and families, designing programs to fill those gaps, and implementing her innovative programs in nonprofit organizations, correctional settings, and communities. Her work is dedicated to reducing or eliminating existing racial and economic disparities which drive who our nation incarcerates and how they receive services in correctional facilities and communities. She is a nationally known leader in intervention development and is currently implementing a program she designed, the 5-Key Model, in more than 100 correctional facilities, 21 urban and rural counties, and seven states across the nation.

Training Developer: Stephanie Kennedy, PhD, MSW

Dr. Stephanie Kennedy (she/her) has nearly a decade of experience conducting social work research in prisons, jails, communities, and nonprofit organizations. She has helped nonprofit organizations conduct program evaluations and has expertise in collecting and analyzing evaluation data. Dr. Kennedy is also a seasoned teacher and trainer and has a gift for breaking down complex research concepts and terminology into digestible language for practitioners and others with little to no research experience.


Learn more about the 'Race, Class, and Health disparities in the Criminal Justice System' training series here!