How does mass incarceration increase youth violence
- It increases parental imprisonment, damaging bonds of support, affection, and attachment between parents and children. This inflicted violence increases the probabilities of affected youth perpetuating violence.
- It damages the neighborhood by taking away breadwinners, role models, and caregivers.
- It damages the neighborhood by shredding the web of mutual care and support.
- It damages the neighborhood by stigmatizing it (“bad neighborhood”), thus hurting prospects for economic development and further depleting social capital.
- It constitutes coercive mobility (high incarceration levels in a community cause social disorganization, thus leading to more crime)
- It models violence, exclusion, and stigmatization as ways of dealing with conflict.
- It diverts needed public funds away from education, child care, housing, economic development, and toward the prison-industrial complex.
- It reduces the stigma of incarceration and increases its allure, thus reducing possible deterrent and norm affirmation effects, and thus facilitating violence.
- It reduces perceptions of procedural fairness and of substantive justice, thus delegitimizing and stigmatizing conventional institutions such as police, courts, and schools, thereby damaging positive social order and the mutuality of relationships.
- It directly includes youth confined either as juveniles or adults (FY 2008 Illinois Department of Corrections: 18% of inmates in adult prison are youth), with all of the “pains of imprisonment” long associated with incarceration.
Source: Todd Clear, Imprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Worse, 2007 (New York: Oxford University Press)