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Bulging prison system called massive intervention in American family life
Date:8/2/2008

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In addition, she noted that the effects of an ever-growing criminal justice system extend beyond those who are serving sentences to include children, partners and even entire communities. Among the findings outlined in Pettit's presentation are:

  • Rates of positive or latent tuberculosis are 50 percent to 100 percent higher for inmates than for the general population. The TB rate among black inmates is 14.6 percent compared to 8.4 percent for white inmates. Despite substantial declines in the overall risk for TB in the U.S., blacks are eight times more likely to contract the disease than whites.
  • Blacks both inside and out of prison have higher rates of HIV infection than whites. Inmate rates for HIV are 3.5 percent for blacks and 2.3 percent for whites, although Pettit said this data is weak because many inmates have not been tested for HIV or will not say if they are HIV positive.
  • The number of black men living in rural, or non-metropolitan, areas increases dramatically when the inmate population is included because many jails and prisons are located in rural locations.
  • Rates of childlessness are higher for both black and white inmates than the general population. Sixty-four percent of non-prison white men have children, but that number drops to 50.6 percent of jailed white men. Among blacks, 71.7 percent of the non-prison men have children while 61.7 percent of those in jail are fathers.

The survey focused on African-Americans and non-Hispanic whites because earlier surveys did not collect data about such groups as Hispanics or Asian-Americans or because the sample sizes from these groups were too small to draw valid statistical judgments. The study also only looked at men between the ages of 25 and 44 and broke them into three groups high school dropouts, high school graduates and those with a college degree or some college education

Pettit said she hopes her work can be a sprin
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Contact: Joel Schwarz
joels@u.washington.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

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