to COVID-19, incarceration rates have decreased among U.S. prisoners. Incarceration
in state and federal prisons and local jails in the United States dropped from
around 2.1 million in 2019 to 1.8 million by mid-2020—a 14 percent decrease. This
is due to such factors as some prisoners being placed in home confinement by the
Courts and the Bureau of Prisons due to COVID-19 risk factors, some prisons
refusing to accept new prisoners, and some parole officers granting leniency
for low-level violations.
the effects of incarceration before the pandemic are still very present in
society. Whether you have a family or friend that has been incarcerated or not,
it's important to understand the effects of loss of freedom. This article will
discuss 10 Compelling Reasons To Be Concerned About Incarceration In The U.S.
discrimination is a factor that many people love to brush under the carpet but
cannot be ignored. This is because it shows its ugly head in nearly every
system including the judicial and prison systems. Research
shows that 600 African Americans are jailed per 100,000 of the population. American
Indians and Alaska Natives make up the second highest incarceration rates at
420, Whites make up 184, and Hispanics and Latinos, 176.
means that African American men are imprisoned almost six times as much as
white men and Hispanic men three times. As far back as the 1800s, black men
were locked up for minor expenses after slavery was abolished. It's also
important to note that your socioeconomic status is a crucial factor as poor
men are also more likely to experience loss of freedom.
Implications In The Economy
a lot of prisoners locked up for several reasons can affect the economy in more
ways than one. It is expensive to take care of inmates. The specific amount
spent on taking care of prisoners depends on the state but is usually large
amounts. For instance, the average amount spent on an inmate in a county in New
York can range from $60,000 to $80,000 or more while that in Kentucky is
$14,603 to 16,000 or more per inmate.
amounts go toward things such as feeding, clothing, and medications for
inmates. This expenditure can lead to slow economic growth in all ramifications
and is currently an issue that needs to be addressed.
aspect of the economy that suffers incarceration is the labor force. The age
group of individuals who are arrested for various types of crime falls within
ages 19-39 years. Individuals in this age group can contribute more to the
economy in different sectors. However, with most of them being incarcerated, a higher unemployment rate. With the rate of incarceration increasing
steadily over four decades (not factoring in the rate of decrease after the
start of the Pandemic 2020 due to COVID-19), the U.S economy loses about $57-$65
billion in productivity annually. Prisoners are not legally eligible to receive
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major issue that is often ignored is the fact that parents who have been
incarcerated lose their jobs in the process. And when they are eventually
released, it becomes more difficult to enter the workforce again. There are so
many factors that might contribute to these problems such as minimal work
experience, zero vocational skills, low levels of education, and oftentimes the reluctance of employers to hire ex-prisoners.
are some of the reasons why many ex-prisoners revert to a life of crime because
they are unable to obtain and maintain proper employment. This can eventually be a problem for the
economy due to the increased reliance on state and government assistance
from the financial damages due to incarceration, it is important to also note
the psychological damages. Research shows that about 64% of individuals in
jail, 54% in state prisons, and 45% in federal prison report mental issues in
prisoner being separated from their loved ones and having their identity
stripped over a long period, can lead to their stress, loss of sense of self,
and confusion and a trickling effect on their family members, friends, and
loved ones on the outside where their social and work life may potentially be
affected. Ensuring that prisoners and their family, friends, and loved one tend
to their mental health is important.
hygiene because of overcrowding is often common, as well as lack of sleep,
privacy, and assault, which may cause or worsen negative psychological effects
for prisoners. This can cause family, friends, and loved ones on the outside who
care and are involved in mental stress.
recreation time for convicts, limited access to health and mental health
treatment, low staff morale, increased facility maintenance expenses, poorer
institution security and fewer opportunity for inmates to learn trades are all
repercussions of prison overcrowding. This can place heavy mental burdens on
prisoners and their families, friends, and loved ones who care and are involved.
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health is equally as important as mental health, and many prisoners must deal
with a decline in physical health, possibly leaving family members, friends,
and loved ones to help take care of them.
transmitted diseases (STDs) upon entering prisons are possible for inmates.
Inmates may be screened for STDs, however, in short-term facilities like jails,
some may be asymptomatic or released back into the community within 24-48 hours
without blood or lab work becoming available before their release.
inmates do not obtain their results or needed treatment, they can infect others
and likewise, become infected by others on the outside if they do not protect
themselves. It is important for released prisoners and anyone they have sex with
to take safety precautions to prevent them from spreading or contracting STDs.
In a bid to combat these problems, the state government has to allocate more funds
to the treatment of prisoners. Hence, affecting the revenue and funds for other
concerns that will lead to economic development.
A crucial part of surviving in prison is to show a lack of empathy when dealing
with fellow prisoners. However, this behavior usually stays with ex-prisoners,
which can cause them to be oblivious to the sufferings of their family. Hence,
when they return home, it becomes difficult to empathize with family members
and others. This can lead to worse psychological damage to their family and
others and make it difficult to fully integrate into society again. This may
cause strained or difficult social relationships with others in society.
Children And Family
Are Collateral Damage
effects of incarceration also can affect the children and families of the
incarcerated. Different studies have shown that the children of prisoners are
less likely to be successful in school and often have behavioral problems.
Instead, children with incarcerated parents are more likely to go through the
same path. The U.S economy spends about $2 million for every juvenile crime
committed. Economic hardship and
depression are also a byproduct of having a family member incarcerated.
Lack Of Acceptance
of how much acceptance is preached within a society, former prisoners are never
fully accepted back into their society. In 34 of the states in the U.S,
individuals that are currently on parole or probation are not allowed to vote.
And in 12 states, a felony means you can never vote. These behaviors lead to an
even greater stigma and shame associated with being incarcerated.
Social Withdrawal And
of the above psychological issues and the struggle to fit in can take a toll on
the self-esteem of individuals. Many
ex-prisoners cannot deal with social anxiety and a lack of confidence with so much stigma and shame. Hence,
it becomes difficult to fit in with and be a productive part of society. The
topic of incarceration is important to be knowledgeable about as it affects you
indirectly regardless of your views of the cause of someone’s incarceration.
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the rate of incarceration has decreased due to COVID-19, the effects of
incarceration are still not been the best. Research has shown that the
consequences of the judicial systems can be felt economically, psychologically,
and physically by inmates and society. The U.S economy is losing more money due
to a declining workforce and caring for inmates and ex-prisoners. Prisoners and
their families deal with poverty, depression, and multiple psychological stressors.
For more information on
how incarceration affects prisoners and society loved, click the links, below: (Disclaimer: Affiliate
Advertising. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.)
and Mass Incarceration: Hope from Civil Society 1st Edition by Anthony B.
Back: Incarceration and Transitions to Adulthood among Urban Youth (Critical
Issues in Crime and Society) Paperback – April 15, 2013
Jamie J. Fader
Get Out and Stay Out!: A
Workbook to Help Put Together a Written Plan for a Successful Transition from
Incarceration to Free Society Paperback – November 19, 2015 by Rev. Richard H.