I need your help. I co-founded the Prison Policy Initiative to put the problem of mass incarceration — and the perverse incentives that fuel it — on the national agenda. Over the last 16 years, our campaigns have protected our democracy from the prison system and protected the poorest families in this country from the predatory prison telephone industry. Our reports untangle the statistics and recruit new allies.

But now, more than ever, we need your help to put data & compassion into the conversation.

Thank you.
—Peter Wagner, Executive DirectorDonate
Graph showing the increasing wealth disparity between incarcerated and non-incarcerated young men starting at age 14.

Data Source: Calculated by the Prison Policy Initiative from Table 4 of Zaw et al., Race, Wealth and Incarceration: Results from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (2016). (Graph: Meredith Booker, 2016)

This graph originally appeared in The Crippling Effect of Incarceration on Wealth.

When it comes to the economic impacts of incarceration, one point becomes very clear: men who experience incarceration maintain lower levels of wealth throughout their lifetime compared to men who are never incarcerated. This disparity is present before, during and after a person is incarcerated. (The data stops in 2000 because of small numbers of survey respondents for some subgroups; the authors note that the wealth trends remain in the years that followed.)

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