We often think of prison as a means of ensuring justice and maintaining public safety, but does it really do either? How does incarceration affect communities and America as a whole?
America's main form of punishment is incarceration. Since the 1960s, the prison population of America has increased dramatically … as has the length of prison sentences.
Public safety is the goal for tougher prison sentences, but recent evidence reveals that this trend has instead caused a decrease in public safety, plus higher levels of recidivism and an increased cost to taxpayers.
Over 90 percent of America's prison population will struggle to find employment within the first year of their release. This is likely the result of more than 48,000 legal barriers and the social stigma that limit 65 million Americans from certain occupations.
In addition, there is a 15 percent reduction in post-release income for families with a formerly incarcerated father.
Prison Fellowship® seeks a justice system that prioritizes proportional punishment and allows individuals who have paid their debt to society to have closure. Proportional alternatives to incarceration should be allowed when such alternatives are just and are more effective than incarceration alone.
We also believe that the outrageous collateral consequences existing in the United States today should be removed so that returning neighbors can secure meaningful employment and become productive community members.
To learn more about this issue, read "How America's Affinity for Incarceration has Impacted our Economy."
Discover how you can help returning citizens thrive and impact their communities for the better. Read more about Prison Fellowship's campaign to raise awareness of the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, and to unlock second chances for people who have paid their debt to society.