One in 14 Americans will grow up with a parent in prison — Quartz
More than 5 million children in the United States have had a parent in prison or jail, according to a 2015 study from the Maryland-based research center Child Trends. That’s 1 in 14 Americans who will grow up losing their parents to prison—and this is most likely an undercount.
The only period in US history comparable to our current era of mass incarceration is the Great Depression.
This is particularly troubling for black children like Erica: One in four African Americans born in 1990 has had a father in prison by the age of 14.
(...) “we should be aware that we’ve done a bunch of damage to these kids, who disproportionately come from already disadvantaged backgrounds.” Even as we cut down the prison population, he says, the damage has been done. Instead of decreasing, racial disparities caused by mass incarceration will plateau for quite some time.
Even before incarceration, these kids already come from disadvantaged families.(Hanna Kozlowska/Quartz)
Michelle Alexander’s seminal book “The New Jim Crow” argues that mass incarceration has formed an “undercaste” of jailed Americans and their children, who are also deprived of a basic safety net after the parents are released from prison. “Certainly youth of color, particularly those in ghetto communities, find themselves born into the cage. They are born into a community in which the rules, laws, policies, structures of their lives virtually guarantee that they will remain trapped for life,”