Prisons of Poverty: Uncovering the pre-incarceration incomes of the imprisoned

beSpacific 2018-08-02

Prison Policy Initiative: Prisons of Poverty: Uncovering the pre-incarceration incomes of the imprisoned – “Correctional experts of all political persuasions have long understood that releasing incarcerated people to the streets without job training, an education, or money is the perfect formula for recidivism and re-incarceration. While the fact that people released from prison have difficulties finding employment is well-documented, there is much less information on the role that poverty and opportunity play in who ends up behind bars in the first place. Using an underutilized data set from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, this report provides hard numbers on the low incomes of incarcerated men and women from before they were locked up. The findings are as predictable as they are disturbing. The American prison system is bursting at the seams with people who have been shut out of the economy and who had neither a quality education nor access to good jobs. We found that, in 2014 dollars, incarcerated people had a median annual income of $19,185 prior to their incarceration, which is 41% less than non-incarcerated people of similar ages. The gap in income is not solely the product of the well-documented disproportionate incarceration of Blacks and Hispanics, who generally earn less than Whites. We found that incarcerated people in all gender, race, and ethnicity groups earned substantially less prior to their incarceration than their non-incarcerated counterparts of similar ages…”