family

HOW MANY FAMILIES ARE IMPACTED BY THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM? MORE THAN YOU THINK, by Joshua Wood

I don’t know what draws people to a site with the rantings and ravings of prisoners. Maybe you’re a law student trying to learn the ins and outs of the prison system for a paper. Maybe you’re an average Joe or Jane just curious about prison life. Maybe you’re a judge trying to find out why the people in your courtroom do the things they do. I don’t know, but I think that many of you have loved ones behind bars and want to peer inside these black holes called prisons to get an understanding of what your loved one is going through. Though I hope everyone who reads this blog enjoys it, this one is written for the loved ones of prisoners.

Have you ever wondered how many other people have an immediate family member that either was or is currently locked up? No? Well, bear with me. The next time you go to a public place, take a look at the first two families you randomly come across. Based on a report by researchers from Cornell University and FWD.us, one of them probably will meet the above criteria. And if they are both minority families, the number goes up from there.

The December 2018 report, titled ” Every Second: The Impact of the Incarceration Crisis on America’s Families,” found that 113 million people — about half of the adults in the U.S. — have had an immediate family member that either is or was in jail or prison. And if you include extended family members, the number of U.S. adults jumps to 64 percent. Those who have an immediate family member currently locked up (at least it was in December 2018) is around 6.5 million, or 1 in 38 adults.

If that adult is African-American, they are 50 percent more likely than whites to have ever had someone in jail or prison. But if that adult is Latino, that number jumps to 70 percent.

I don’t need to tell the family members of people who are incarcerated the impact of imprisonment on families, but for those who don’t know the impacts are significant. The effects are wide-ranging and include things such as household income, physical and mental health, school outcomes for the children of the incarcerated, and future contact with the criminal justice system. I’ve read somewhere that children of prisoners are five times more likely to end up in prison than other children; so by incarcerating adults, the current system creates the next generation of prisoners out of their children.

I hope we can fix the broken criminal justice system so future families won’t have to go through this. But until then, to the families who are doing time with their loved ones, I’ve got two words:

Thank you.

To contact me by mail:

Joshua Wood #1189105
Buckingham Correctional Center
PO Box 430
Dillwyn, VA 23936

Please check out Virginia DOC’s policies regarding mail on their website before sending a letter. They can be very particular.

You can also use the name and state number above to contact me through email via jpay.

Joshua Wood
DOC #1189105

Categories: family, Joshua Wood, justice

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