The incarceration rate is high in the United States, especially in Louisiana. Spending time in jail or prison can be damaging for incarcerated people. However, over-incarceration can also have negative effects on families and communities.
Residents of Louisiana should understand the wide-reaching impact of mass incarceration.
Incarceration affects communities
Incarcerated people can experience physical injuries, illnesses and mental health issues while in prison. In addition, high recidivism rates mean that people often serve multiple sentences. Incarceration also harms families by removing people who contribute to household income and labor. Children with incarcerated parents miss out on crucial support and guidance. Spouses and partners of incarcerated people often struggle financially. People in prison have a limited ability to earn money, and time in prison can permanently impact someone’s career, especially if that person has a felony conviction. In communities with high incarceration rates, this can contribute to poverty and instability that affects everyone.
Mass incarceration in Louisiana
Louisiana has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, with around 50,000 people in prison or jail. In addition, many more people are on probation, are serving parole or have spent short amounts of time in local jails. Thousands of incarcerated people in Louisiana do not have a conviction and are still waiting to go to court. Additionally, many of the convicted individuals received their sentences for non-violent crimes. Drug offenders and people charged with property crimes are numerous in Louisiana’s criminal justice system.
Over-incarceration is a serious issue that has harmful effects on families and communities in Louisiana.