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Mass incarceration, and the detriment it poses to marginalized groups in the United States of America, has been studied at length from the perspective of both the Black and queer communities, separately. However, much of this data, while incredibly insightful and eye-opening, does not adequately account for intersectionality. Data that only looks at one aspect of a person’s identity (i.e. only their race, or only their gender identity), does not address that individuals who are part of more than one marginalized group are affected interconnectedly by these identities. The Black transgender community is most often overlooked in research, despite being disproportionately impacted by mass incarceration.

Nearly one in six transgender people (16%) (including 21% of transgender women) have been incarcerated at some point in their lives—far higher than the rate for the general population. Among Black transgender people, nearly half (47%) have been incarcerated at some point (Survived and Punished).

When researching mass incarceration, it is imperative to not only look at the rate of incarceration, but the treatment of marginalized groups within these pirons. 40% of transgender people in prison and 34% in jail reported sexual victimization while incarcerated. “Women, trans and Gender non-conforming (GNC) people inside prisons are vulnerable, invisible targets of the guards, staff and prison administration who control their lives (and) provides a crucial dimension to the national conversation on gendered violence” (Transgender and Intersex Justice Project).

Black Americans, who make up 38% of the incarcerated population, represent only 12% of U.S residents (Prison Policy Initiative).