Re­port: 45% of US adults have fam­ily mem­ber who has been in­car­cer­ated

Iran Daily - - Society -

Nearly half of all Amer­i­can adults have an im­me­di­ate fam­ily mem­ber who has ex­pe­ri­enced in­car­cer­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to a new study pub­lished on Thurs­day that spot­lights the ex­tent of mass im­pris­on­ment in the US.

The study by Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity and lob­by­ing group FWD. us found that ap­prox­i­mately 45 per­cent of Amer­i­can adults (around 113 mil­lion peo­ple) have an im­me­di­ate fam­ily mem­ber who has been in­car­cer­ated for at least one night in jail or pri­son, AFP wrote.

It was based on on­line and phone sur­veys con­ducted on a na­tion­ally rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple of 4,041 adults in the sum­mer of 2018.

One in seven US adults has an im­me­di­ate fam­ily mem­ber who has been in­car­cer­ated for at least one year, and one in 34 adults has had an im­me­di­ate fam­ily mem­ber spend 10 years or longer in pri­son, it added.

An es­ti­mated 6.5 mil­lion peo­ple, or one in 38, have an im­me­di­ate fam­ily mem­ber who is cur­rently in­car­cer­ated in jail or pri­son.

In­car­cer­a­tion re­sults in a va­ri­ety of di­rect and in­di­rect harms, ac­cord­ing to the study.

“Re­search has shown that even short pe­ri­ods of in­car­cer­a­tion can be dev­as­tat­ing to peo­ple’s lives and ad­di­tional pun­ish­ments such as fines and fees,” it said.

“Re­stric­tions on em­ploy­ment and hous­ing, and the loss of ba­sic hu­man rights limit op­por­tu­ni­ties for suc­cess long af­ter in­di­vid­u­als have com­pleted their sen­tences.”

The study found that black peo­ple are 50 per­cent more likely than white peo­ple to have had a fam­ily mem­ber in­car­cer­ated, and three times more likely to have had a fam­ily mem­ber in­car­cer­ated for one year or longer.

Peo­ple earn­ing un­der $25,000 per year are 61 per­cent more likely than peo­ple earn­ing over $100,000 to have had a fam­ily mem­ber in­car­cer­ated – and three times more likely to have had a fam­ily mem­ber in pri­son for a year or longer.

The re­port said its find­ings “should serve as a wakeup call and a stark re­minder of how much work is needed to al­le­vi­ate the harms caused by mass in­car­cer­a­tion and un­ravel the com­pli­cated tan­gle of laws that per­pet­u­ate it.”

The adop­tion of suc­ces­sive re­pres­sive laws since the 1980s has seen the pri­son pop­u­la­tion ex­plode. There are now more than 1.5 mil­lion peo­ple in state and fed­eral prisons on any given day, and nearly 11 mil­lion ad­mis­sions to lo­cal jails each year.

US jail and pri­son pop­u­la­tions are four times larger than in 1980 and the US con­tin­ues to in­car­cer­ate more peo­ple than any other coun­tries in the world, the re­port said.

With 710 pris­on­ers per 100,000 peo­ple, the US in­car­cer­a­tion rate is far ahead of Western democ­ra­cies (147 in the UK, 118 in Canada, 108 in Bel­gium and 98 in France).

JOHN MOORE/GETTY IM­AGES NORTH AMER­ICA Rik­ers Is­land pri­son com­plex, pho­tographed in Jan­uary 2018

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