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Prison Nation: A Young Black Man With No Diploma Is More Likely to Be in Jail Than Find a Job

The shocking statistic comes in a New York Times article shedding new light on an old topic: how prison keeps people in poverty.

A New York Times article is shedding new light on an old topic: how prison keeps people in poverty. And the article, written by John Tierney as part of a series on the social science of incarceration, contains a shocking statistic: “For black men in their 20s and early 30s without a high school diploma, the incarceration rate is so high — nearly 40 percent nationwide — that they’re more likely to be behind bars than to have a job.”

The article follows the ordeal of Carl Harris and Charlene Hamilton, who exemplify how poverty is perpetuated by the prison system. Harris was a crack dealer in Washington, D.C., and made a lot of money before being arrested and incarcerated for assault. As a result of Harris’ imprisonment, his partner Charlene ended up homeless.
Hamilton “went on welfare and turned to relatives to care for their daughters while she visited him at prisons in Tennessee, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico,” Tierney writes.

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