Each one of these incarcerated individuals are either a grandfather/grandmother, a father/mother, a son/daughter, an uncle/aunt or a nephew/niece. As a nation, we cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to educating our children. We must be honest with ourselves, forthright and speak truth to power and work together to create true community learning centers in all K-12 public schools.
Collateral Costs: Incarceration's Effect on Economic Mobility
INCARCERATION IS CONCENTRATED AMONG MEN, THE YOUNG, THE UNEDUCATED AND RACIAL AND ETHNIC MINORITIES—ESPECIALLY AFRICAN AMERICANS.
• One in 87 working-aged white men is in prison or jail, compared with 1 in 36 Hispanic men and 1 in 12 African American men.
• More young (20 to 34-year-old) African American men without a high school diploma or GED are currently behind bars (37 percent) than employed (26 percent).
INCARCERATION NEGATIVELY AFFECTS FORMER INMATES’ ECONOMIC PROSPECTS.
• Serving time reduces hourly wages for men by approximately 11 percent, annual employment by 9 weeks and annual earnings by 40 percent.
• By age 48, the typical former inmate will have earned $179,000 less than if he had never been incarcerated.
• Incarceration depresses the total earnings of white males by 2 percent, of Hispanic males by 6 percent, and of black males by 9 percent.
FORMER INMATES EXPERIENCE LESS UPWARD ECONOMIC MOBILITY THAN THOSE WHO ARE NEVER INCARCERATED.
• Of the former inmates who were in the lowest fifth of the male earnings distribution in 1986, two-thirds remained on the bottom rung in 2006, twice the number of those who were not incarcerated.
• Only 2 percent of previously incarcerated men who started in the bottom fifth of the earnings distribution made it to the top fifth 20 years later, compared to 15 percent of men who started at the bottom but were never incarcerated.
THE IMPACTS OF INCARCERATION REACH FAR BEYOND FORMER INMATES TO THEIR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES.
• 54 percent of inmates are parents with minor children (ages 0-17), including more than 120,000 mothers and 1.1 million fathers.
• 2.7 million children have a parent behind bars—1 in every 28 children (3.6 percent) has a parent incarcerated, up from 1 in 125 just 25 years ago. Two-thirds of these children’s parents were incarcerated for non-violent offenses.
• One in 9 African American children (11.4 percent), 1 in 28Hispanic children (3.5 percent) and 1 in 57 white children (1.8 percent) have an incarcerated parent.
A CHILD’S PROSPECT OF UPWARD ECONOMIC MOBILITY IS NEGATIVELY AFFECTED BY THE INCARCERATION OF A PARENT.
• Previous research has shown that having a parent incarcerated hurts children, both educationally and financially.
• Children with fathers who have been incarcerated are significantly more likely than other children to be expelled or suspended from school (23 percent compared with 4 percent).
• Family income averaged over the years a father is incarcerated is 22 percent lower than family income was the year before a father is incarcerated. Even in the year after the father is released, family income remains 15 percent lower than it was the
year before incarceration.
• Both education and parental income are strong indicators of children’s future economic mobility.
Source: The Pew Charitable Trusts