Report Finds Nearly Half of U.S. Adults Have Had Family Member Incarcerated in Jail or Prison

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

A report based on research conducted by FWD.us and Cornell University on how incarceration affects American families revealed that nearly half of all adults living in the United States – 45 percent or approximately 113 million people – have had an immediate family member either formerly or currently incarcerated in jail or prison.

Nearly Half of U.S. Adults Have Had Family Member in Jail

The report “Every Second: The Impact of the Incarceration Crisis on America’s Families” – which was released in December 2018 and is the first national estimate of Americans who have had family members behind bars – also found an estimated 6.5 million U.S. adults have a family member currently in jail or prison.

In addition, the report found 1 in 4 families (27.5 percent) have had a sibling incarcerated, 1 in 5 families (18.4 percent) have had a parent incarcerated, 1 in 7 families (13.5 percent) have had a spouse or co-parent incarcerated, and 1 in 8 families (12.2 percent) have had a child incarcerated.

Black adults were more likely than white adults – 31 percent to 10 percent – to have an immediate family member incarcerated for longer than one year. Latino adults were also more likely than white adults – 17 percent to 10 percent – to have an immediate family member incarcerated for longer than one year.

The report found adults with household incomes less than $25,000 per year were 61 percent more likely than adults with household incomes more than $100,000 to have had a family member incarcerated, and three times more likely to have had a family member incarcerated for one year or longer.

“These new findings bring to light the staggering scale of the United States’ incarceration crisis, as nearly 1 in 2 American adults has an immediate family member who is currently or has previously spent time behind bars,” Todd Schulte, President of FWD.us, stated in a press release about the report.

In partnership with a research team based out of Cornell University, FWD.us surveyed a nationally representative sample of 4,041 adults age 18 or older to estimate the prevalence of family incarceration. The survey was conducted online and by phone in English and Spanish in the summer of 2018.

FWD.us is a bipartisan political organization founded by leaders in the technology and business communities that believes America’s families, communities, and economy thrive when everyone has the opportunity to achieve their full potential. To learn more, visit https://everysecond.fwd.us/.

Ex-offenders face many hurdles after leaving prison that include finding a job. A July 2018 report entitled “Out of Prison & Out of Work” calculated the ex-offender unemployment rate to be 27 percent, which surpassed the 25 percent unemployment rate in America during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a background check firm located in the San Francisco, California area – offers a complimentary whitepaper entitled “Ten Critical Steps for Ex-Offenders to Get Back into the Workforce” to help job applicants with criminal records find employment.

With record low unemployment, employers are more willing to hire ex-offenders with necessary skills to make sure they are not eliminating job applicants with past criminal records who are qualified to work. The increased hiring of ex-offenders is one of the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2019.

ESR Helps Ex-Offenders Out of Jail Get Back to Work

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – provides ex-offender resources to help the millions of job seekers with criminal records who are out of jail get back to work. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/Applicant-Support-Center/Ex-Offender-Resources/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

© 2019 Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – Making copies or using of any part of the ESR News Blog or ESR website for any purpose other than your own personal use is prohibited unless written authorization is first obtained from ESR.

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