In August 2010, Bob Herbert, a New York Times Columnist wrote a column how payday loans co the rate for high school graduates was less than 50 percent for the black male. He was quoted as saying: “The astronomical jobless rates for black men in inner-city neighborhoods are both mind-boggling and heartbreaking. There are many areas where virtually no one has a legitimate job.”
So, the question that Clear Choice Staffing Solutions and many others ask is: Without a diploma, what happens? Well according to the report that Mr. Herbert got his information from 5 years ago holds true still today: Young black men without a high school diploma are more likely to be found in a cell than in the workplace.
This isn’t just about young black men either. All men of all races between the ages of 20 to 34 are affected when they don’t have that high school diploma. The numbers are larger according to the report “Collateral Costs: Incarceration’s Effect on Economic Mobility”, for black male. For them it is 1 in 3 and for Hispanic males the numbers are 1 in 14. For the white men the numbers are 1 in 8.
When this report was released, there were over 2 million Americans incarcerated. That may not seem high considering the overall population, but the number behind bars in 1980 was 500,000. America 100 guaranteed online loans has more people behind bars than 35 of the top European countries. For this blog, we don’t have the number for 2015, but it has most likely grown since 2010 and regardless the numbers, it is too many.
No doubt that state budgets are strained with the number of housing incarcerated people. The lasting impact on economic progress goes beyond state capitals though. The consequences are tremendous for the former inmates and their families too. How? By not being able to earn decent wages and move up the economic ladder to pursue the American Dream.
Not only do those who have been former incarcerated have difficulty finding a job and earn less, but studies have shown their children will struggle as well. Over 20 percent of those children are most likely to be expelled or suspended and when they aren’t in school, they’re more likely to be doing things they shouldn’t. And so the chain of reaction goes on and on.
What can be done to stop this ongoing trend? What can be done to turn things around? Experts recommend the following 5 actions:
ONE: Proactively connect x-inmates with the labor market by way of education and training. Assistance with job search and provide follow-up services to help them keep those jobs.
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TWO: Enhance x-inmates’ financial conditions by putting a cap on the deductions such as court-ordered fees and fines. Expand the EIC (Earned Income Tax Credit) so that non-custodial, low-income parents are included.
THREE: Use screening process to sort x-inmates by the level of risk they pose, allowing lower-risk offenders the opportunity for community-based, high-quality mandatory supervision programs.
FOUR: Allow inmates to use earned-time credits, educational, vocational and rehab program participation toward making a successful reentry into the community and the job market.
FIVE: Use other sanctions besides prison for lesser crimes such as weekend incarceration which will allow them to keep working.
It’s not anything new that those with a high school diplomas or higher will earn better wages from legitimate work. This alone reduces the assumed need to commit crimes. That itself will eliminate the stigma that comes with being incarcerated, for both the criminal and their families.
At the end of the day though, the best thing that these young men (and women) can do is stay out of jail. Don’t do the crime and they won’t have to do the time. Society needs to take the steps necessary to ensure everyone gets the education they are entitled to in this country.