Mass Incarceration Costs Exceed $1-Trillion


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(AURN) — Washington University in St. Louis has released results of a new study that shows full costs of mass incarceration exceeds $1 trillion. In what’s dubbed a ‘first-of-its-kind’ study, researchers factor in the financial toll on social welfare.

According to one researcher, “For every dollar in corrections spending, there’s another 10 dollars of other types of costs to families, children and communities that nobody sees because it doesn’t end up on a state budget.” Doctoral student Michael McLaughlin is a certified public accountant who led the study.  McLaughlin said, “Incarceration doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

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The study shows that the incarcerated population missout on $70.5 billion in lost wages.  Couple that with the likelihood that formerly incarcerated individuals are less likely to be hired, and/or make low wages, researchers concluded that lost wages reach upwards of $230 billion in lost earnings.

The report dubbed: The Economic Burden of Incarceration in the U.S. was co-authored by Carrie Pettus-Davis, who as co-director of the Smart Decarceration Initiative.  The organization advocates for the redusing mass incarceration in the United States.

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