« Anyone eager to predict how many last-month clemencies Prez Obama will grant? | Main | Philippine Prez Duterte talking up conducting thousands of executions yearly if death penalty restored »

December 19, 2016

"Mass incarceration and children’s outcomes: Criminal justice policy is education policy"

The title of this post is the title of this intriguing report released late last week by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).  This press release from EPI provide a kind of report summary under the heading "Mass incarceration contributes significantly to the racial achievement gap," and here is its text:

In Mass incarceration and children’s outcomes, EPI research associates Leila Morsy and Richard Rothstein outline the connections between mass incarceration and racial achievement gaps. There is overwhelming evidence that having an incarcerated parent leads to an array of cognitive and noncognitive outcomes known to affect children’s performance in school. Independent of other social and economic characteristics, children of incarcerated parents are more likely to misbehave in school, drop out of school, develop learning disabilities, experience homelessness, or suffer from conditions such as migraines, asthma, high cholesterol, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Simply put, criminal justice policy is education policy,” said Morsy. “It is impossible to disentangle the racial achievement gap from the extraordinary rise in incarceration in the United States. Education policymakers, educators, and advocates should pay greater attention to the mass incarceration of young African Americans.”

African American children are six times as likely as white children to have a parent who is or has been incarcerated. One-in-four African American students have a parent who is or has been incarcerated, and as many as one-in-ten have a parent who is currently incarcerated. Because African American children are disproportionately likely to have had an incarcerated parent, the authors argue, the United States’ history of mass incarceration has contributed significantly to gaps in achievement between African American and white students.

“Despite increased national interest in criminal justice reform, President-elect Trump has promised to move in the opposite direction by advocating for a nationwide “stop-and-frisk” program,” said Rothstein. “While the chance of reform on a federal level may have stalled, advocates should look for opportunities for reform at the state and local levels, because many more parents are incarcerated in state than in federal prisons.”

The authors advocate for a number of policies to address this problem by reducing incarceration, including eliminating disparities between minimum sentences for possession of crack versus powder cocaine, repealing mandatory minimum sentences for minor drug offenses and other nonviolent crimes, and increasing funding for social, educational, and employment programs for released offenders.

December 19, 2016 at 10:12 AM | Permalink


Some problems with this intellectually deficient report. Perhaps it was written by the offspring of a prisoner.

1) The average IQ in prison is 85. Any comparison of children outcome must control for low parental IQ. IQ, ADHD, and learning disability are genetically caused, and elevated in children adopted away into normal homes. These differences are not racial. People with very dark skins, from Africa and from the Caribbean, are now the new Koreans, busting curves in schools.

2) It also fails to control for bastardy rates. That factor is far more powerful than parental IQ, ADHD, and learning disabilities at predicting future failure.

3) It fails to address the great benefit to bastard children with low IQ's, ADHD, and learning disabilities, of having a criminal parent removed from the home, and in prison, not coming around. Imagine being stuck with no remedy in a home with an ultra-violent, immoral, sexually abusive, currently using addict, one who invites a bunch of similar people into the home to pass this child around.

Posted by: David Behar | Dec 20, 2016 7:05:31 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB