There’s a strong link between poverty and incarceration. Most people living behind bars were poor to begin with — the average income prior to incarceration was just $19,185 a year in 2014 dollars — and prison can trap them in poverty. People earn little or nothing during the months or years they serve, have difficulty finding jobs after their release, and are often banned from subsidized housing and barred from receiving cash benefits. The effects can even be generational; a parent in prison often leaves children living in poverty, and the cycle continues.

Further Reading