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Prison punishes more people than just the inmates
Date:4/22/2009

considered whether a person smoked tobacco, drank alcohol heavily, was overweight or obese, or had adequate nutrition and physical exercise.

The study consisted of 1,288 adults from Flint, Mich., an urban area with high unemployment and crime rates, and surrounding areas of Genesee County. In the study, 67 percent of respondents were white and 26 percent were African American.

"Our study demonstrates that incarceration is not only enormously expensive economically, it also has public health costs and these should be taken into consideration," Kruger said. "In the last 30 years or so, we have seen a more and more punitive system, one where judges no longer have discretion for sentencing."

Moving toward a rehabilitation model may benefit both the offending individuals and society, he says.

"The vast majority of people incarcerated are nonviolent drug offenders," Kruger said. "We should shift oversight of substance use and abuse to the health care sector."

One out of every 100 adults in the United States is incarcerated and more than three times as many African Americans and Latinos live in jails or prisons than college dorms, Kruger says. This particular study looked only at African Americans, not Latinos, because there is not a large population of Latinos in Flint and Genesee County.


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Contact: Laura Bailey
baileylm@umich.edu
734-647-1848
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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