Friday, June 12, 2015

How Locking People Up Destroys the Economy

Since mass incarceration has been a miserable failure for decades, let's try this: release every jail and prison inmate whose crime did not involve actual physical injury or death to another human being. If it's not murder, rape or aggravated assault, out they go.  Purge their records so they can get a job and a place to live. Assign them wrap-around services to reintegrate them into the community.

Then stand back and watch as the economy accelerates.

Nancy LeTourneau, at Political Animal, on how ruining the ability of millions of people to get jobs keeps the whole country impoverished. 
Just the way the plutocrats want it.
7. One recent study finds that our nation’s poverty rate would have dropped by 20 percent between 1980 and 2004 if not for mass incarceration and the subsequent criminal records that haunt people for years after they have paid their debt to society.

It is clear from this data that - if we are ever going to tackle the issue of (Labor Force Participation Rate) LFPR and the disparities in unemployment for people of color - it is critical that we address this issue. Also, as #7 suggests, doing so would have a dramatic affect on the current rate of poverty in this country.

Vallas and Dietrich provide pages of important actions that can be taken address this issue. But as Dietrich explains in another article, passage of the REDEEM Act - which would allow for the expungement of federal criminal records - is perhaps the most important step that could be taken immediately.

The next time a politician/candidate brings up the LFPR as a sign that our economy is still struggling (as Jeb Bush did just this week), I hope someone will ask them what their position is on the REDEEM Act.

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