Report: Inmate Families Face Economic Hardships

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A survey of families of the incarcerated has found that nearly two-thirds struggle to meet their basic needs, according to a report released by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Forward Together.

The Oakland-based center, along with more than a dozen community and civil rights organizations, found that costs associated with incarceration had pushed more than one-third of the families into debt.

Fifty percent of families are unable to afford sufficient food and adequate housing. The report found that 2.4 million people are in prison, many of whom were the primary income owners.

The financial burden doesn’t stop there. After an inmate is released, a criminal conviction can often result in a family losing its ability to live in government-assisted housing. Former inmates cannot apply for a large amount of student grants and loans.

More than 700 former inmates were surveyed for the study. Twenty-six percent of them remained unemployed five years after they were released. The vast majority had found only part-time employment at menial jobs.

Researchers say the findings highlight the link between imprisonment and poverty.

Read more at the New York Times.