New research done by leading criminologists indicates that the growing inequality in this country continues to be highly exacerbated by the widespread and increasing use of prisons and jails. The United States imprisons more people than any other country in the world, even including regimes typically labeled as repressive, such as China and Iran.
This new study highlights the startling reality– that incarceration remains a main contributing factor to poverty, and that mass incarceration perpetuates not only individual indigence, but also familial, community, and demographic destitution. Once someone has spent time in prison, the chances of he or she achieving any level of prosperity is slim to none.
The authors of the study claim that “68 percent of African-American male high school dropouts born from 1975 to 1979 will spend time living in prison at some point in their lives.” This devastating level of incarceration only encourages the continued levels of racial inequality that destroy the social and economic fabric of our society.