Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Mass incarceration of African Americans affects the racial achievement gap — report - The Washington Post

Mass incarceration of African Americans affects the racial achievement gap — report - The Washington Post:

Mass incarceration of African Americans affects the racial achievement gap — report



Consider:
* By the age of 14, approximately 25 percent of African American children have experienced a parent — in most cases a father — being imprisoned for some period of time. On any given school day, approximately 10 percent of African American schoolchildren have a parent who is in jail or prison, more than four times the share in 1980.
* The comparable share for white children is 4 percent; an African American child is six times as likely as a white child to have or have had an incarcerated parent.
* A growing share of African Americans have been arrested for drug crimes, yet African Americans are no more likely than whites to sell or use drugs. Of imprisoned fathers of African American children, only one-third are in prison because of a violent crime.
* Research in criminal justice, health, sociology, epidemiology, and economics demonstrates that when parents are incarcerated, children do worse across cognitive and noncognitive outcome measures — and the incarceration is a key cause. For example, children of incarcerated parents are more likely to drop out of school; develop learning disabilities; misbehave in school; suffer from migraines, asthma, high cholesterol, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and homelessness.
Those are findings from a new report released by the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute that says the “evidence is overwhelming that the unjustified incarceration of African American fathers (and, increasingly, mothers as well) is an important cause of the lowered performance of their children” and of the racial achievement gap.
When parents are imprisoned, it is not only they who suffer, but also their offspring. The number of children affected has grown to the point that we can reasonably infer that our criminal justice system is making an important contribution to the racial achievement gap in both cognitive and noncognitive skills.
The report also says that educators should view criminal justice reform as a key part of school reform and join forces with reformers in the area of criminal justice.
Educators have paid too little heed to this criminal justice crisis. Criminal justice reform should be a policy priority for educators who are committed to improving the achievement of African American children. While reform of federal policy may seem implausible in a Trump administration, educators can seize opportunities for such advocacy at state and local levels because many more parents are incarcerated in state than in federal prisons. In 2014, over 700,000 prisoners nationwide were serving sentences of a year or longer for nonviolent 
Mass incarceration of African Americans affects the racial achievement gap — report - The Washington Post:
 

Here’s the full report:
on Scribd


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