The rate of parental imprisonment in the United States is a growing cause for concern. Shockingly, one in every 12 American children has experienced the incarceration of a parent during their lifetime - that's over 5.7 million kids under the age of 18 (Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, 2016). Half of all parents in prison lived with their children prior to their arrest or imprisonment, with similar numbers serving as the primary source of financial support (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2015).
Although there should be consequences for breaking the law, this phenomenon of mass parental incarceration is unique to the United States and perpetuates a complex problem.
The United States has seen a dramatic increase in incarceration rates. Since 1980, the number of incarcerated individuals has skyrocketed to over 2.2 million, with an additional 4.7 million under parole or probation supervision. Punitive policing and sentencing policies have had a disproportionately negative effect on communities of color, with African Americans being more likely to be arrested, convicted, and incarcerated than their white counterparts, despite comprising only 37% of the U.S. population (The Sentencing Project). Unfortunately, women have also been impacted, with a 716% increase in female incarceration since 1980.
The USDA estimated that 11.1% of US households were food insecure in 2018. This means that approximately 14.3 million households had difficulty providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources. Rates of food insecurity were substantially higher than the national average for households with incomes near or below the Federal poverty line.
Poverty thresholds are determined by the US government, and vary according to the size of a family, and the ages of its members.
In 2018, the poverty threshold—also known as the poverty line—for an individual was $12,784. For two people, the weighted average threshold was $16,247.
In 2018, 16.2% of all children (11.9 million kids) lived in Poverty USA—that’s almost 1 in every 6 children. In 2015, the National Center on Family Homelessness analyzed state-level data and found that nationwide, 2.5 million children experience homelessness in a year.
Though the official census data gives seniors a 2018 poverty rate of only 9.7%, the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which accounts for expenses such as the rising costs of health care, raises the senior poverty rate to 14.1%.
Did you know?
A large portion of households spend half of their monthly income on their rent or mortgage payment. Many of these families are only one paycheck away from homelessness.
By creating affordable housing programs and providing resources, HAHTTA will assist families with achieving homeownership.
Did you know?
Two-thirds of people currently incarcerated in the U.S. are for non-violent offenses. Once individuals, in particular African Americans, finish serving their sentences and satisfy all conditions of their release, they still encounter significant obstacles, including finding a job and safe housing.
Removing barriers after being behind bars by connecting former felons with felony friendly employers, job training, & "Earn as You Learn" apprenticeships.
Did you know?
Roughly 4,500 children are housed in adult jails and prisons. Children housed in an adult jail or prison are up to 9 times more likely to commit suicide than those in juvenile facilities.
Developing educational and artistic after school programs, as well as programs to provide aide to women and children with incarcerated spouses and parents, can help keep youth out of prison.