Consequences Of Incarceration

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We have just seen that the massive increase in incarceration since the 1970s has probably produced little in the way of crime reduction. Not only has the incarceration boom failed to produce the positive consequence for which it was initiated, it has also had several negative collateral consequences that have attracted increasing attention from scholars and policy analysts (Clear, 2007; Garland, 2001; Mauer & Chesney – Lind, 2003; Petersilia, 2003; Travis, 2005;). This section examines several of these consequences. The Huge Cost of Incarceration: A first collateral consequence involves the huge monetary coat of corrections. As we have seen, corrections now costs the United States tens of billions of dollars every year. Imprisonment accounts…show more content…
It removes inmates from their roles as breadwinners, making their families poorer, and from their roles as spouses and parents. This latter effect became more important as the incarceration boom increasingly placed less serious offenders behind bars, the children of the prison generation (Hagan & Dinovitzer, 1999, p. 153). A growing number of children, probably more than 1.5 million, have a parent in prison at any one time, and probably more than 7 million children have had a parent in prison at some point during their childhood. These children are more likely to commit delinquency and to experience school related performance problems, depression and anxiety, low self-esteem and aggressiveness (Clear, 2007, p. 97). Although the exact reasons that parental imprisonment has these effects remain to be determined, a recent review concluded that the effects appear to be relatively strong, with multiple adverse outcomes (Murray & Farrington, 2008 p.186). In a community level problem, recall that about 700,000 prisoners are now being released back into their communities every year after serving their sentence (Eckholm, 2008). The flood of ex-inmates brings with it several problems of re-entry (Travis, 2005). Ex inmates arrive home with few prospects for employment or friendships with law abiding citizens, and many arrive home with personal problems such as a history of being sexually and or physically abused as children and a history of drug abuse and alcohol addiction beginning in
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