financial burdens that communities are often left to manage. For every person who goes to jail, businesses lose either a potential employee or customer. Inmates' children often depend on extended families, rather than a parent, to raise them. With only so many government resources to go around, churches, volunteer programs and other groups must often step in to help.Uncounted costs identified by the Journal include money families spend to care for kids who're left behind, social services for children and spouses, and large numbers of "missing" young men between 18 and 35, particularly in Hispanic and African American neighborhoods. "I have a lot of real young customers whose mommas bring them in and I have customers that are older," said a 47-year-old barber in Phoenix. "The young black men in this area are extinct."
Family and charitable support aren't calculated in the government's numbers, says WSJ, but they represent significant costs nonetheless.
Another incalculable loss - children of incarcerated parents grow up in a culture where they view prison as a familial norm and are 5-7 times more likely than their peers to wind up there themselves. What's more, kids learn at a young age to fear the police and take an oppositional attitude toward law enforcement.
Says David Kennedy, director of crime prevention and control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, "It's not arguable any longer that some of the things we're doing to fight crime are promoting crime and exacerbating poverty."