Aug. 11, 2019

Mass Incarceration Affects Over Half of U.S. Families

by Harlan Richards (author's profile)


Date: 8/5/2019
12:13:43 AM


August 4, 2019

Mass Incarceration Affects Over Half of U.S. Families

There's an article in the July 2019 issue of Prison Legal News that describes a study completed by a multi-university team of researchers and which found that 64% of U.S. adults had an immediate or extended family member in jail or prison. 25% had a sibling locked up, 20% had a parent locked up, 12.5% had a child locked up, and over 14% had a spouse or co-parent who had served time.

Researchers estimated that 113 million people had at some point had an immediate family member imprisoned. They also found that adults with an income of less than $25,000 per year are "61 percent more likely than adults with household incomes more than $100,000 to have had a family member incarcerated for one year or longer." When it comes to race, African-American adults are 50% more likely than white adults to have had an immediate family member incarcerated, while Latino adults are 70% more likely than white adults to have had a family member behind bars.

The report is titled "Every Second: The Impact of the Incarcerated Crisis on America's Failures." More information can be found at and

Prison Legal News is a great resource for those who can afford it. In the same issue is an article on how some governors have granted pardons and commutations of sentence before leaving office.

That's a hot issue in Wisconsin right now. Governor Scott Walker refused to grant any clemency during his eight years in office. When Tony Evers replaced Walkers in 2019, his supporters expected him to return to the traditional practice of granting pardons and commutations of sentence. He disappointed everyone by refusing to consider any prison for commutation of sentence.

Let's face it: it may be nice to pardon someone five or more years after they discharge their sentence, but in the grand scheme of things, it is a meaningless gesture. It will not matter to anyone except the person being pardoned, won't correct any injustice, and won't reduce prison overcrowding or end the Mass Incarceration Movement.

Prison Legal News can be found online at I usually read it in the library because I can't afford to pay the $30 a year subscription.


Replies Replies feed

We will print and mail your reply by . Guidelines

Other posts by this author


Get notifications when new letters or replies are posted!

Posts by Harlan Richards: RSS email me
Comments on “Mass Incarceration Affects Over Half of U.S. Families”: RSS email me
Featured posts: RSS email me
All Between the Bars posts: RSS