The high unemployment rates amongst ex-prisoners can lead

The United States prison system has exploded in size and economic importance during the past three decades. By the end of 2008, roughly 2.3 million adults were in local, state, or federal custody, according to Suzanne Kirchhoff, an analyst in industrial organization and business (Kirchhoff, 2013). Prisons affect the United States drastically. Due to the increase in incarceration rates, unemployment levels are also increasing which leads to a fluctuation in the economy. Additionally, the construction of correctional facilities have increased which have proven to bring no economic prosperity. As a circular result, taxpayers have been negatively impacted because the portion of annual income that they have to give to prisons has experienced an increase in amount. Essentially, prisons have influenced the United States in a negative way, particularly in the economic sector.Over the past 4 decades, America’s incarceration rate has inflated by 700 percent; to specify, there are approximately 716 prisoners for every 100,000 people in the country, as pointed out by Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and vocal advocate for change in America, Alice Goffman. (Goffman, 2016). Due to the increase in incarceration rates, unemployment rates are also increasing. Mass incarceration greatly interferes with the American labor market. Julia Bowling, a Research Associate in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program, where she focuses on the costs of mass incarceration claims that “sixty-one percent of people in prison are between 18-39 years old — in the prime of their working life” (Bowling, 2013). Inhibiting potent individuals, in their prime age of working, from the labor market lowers the quality of the work force and indelibly damages their employment opportunities. Consequently, the United States experiences a fluctuation in the economy. Moreover, Bowling stresses that 60 percent of former inmates are unemployed and that high unemployment rates amongst ex-prisoners can lead to loss of income tax revenue, drains spending for other crucial programs, and higher federal and state government assistance payouts (Bowling, 2013). Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, a group that advocates for criminal justice reform, and his colleagues, conducted a 25 year research study in which they observed the effects of prisons in rural communities. One of their results came from the state of New York; “counties without prisons experienced a 44% drop in unemployment rates, counties that were hosting prisons had a 42% decline” (Mauer et al., 2003). With that being said, areas in which prisons are not implemented experience a greater decrease in unemployment rates. Since New York had a two percent increase in unemployment rates, other states are expected to have a variety of different percentages, that can possibly be detrimental to the United States economy. The statistic contributed by Goffman concerning the rates of incarceration, along with the information brought up by Bowling about the demographics in prisons and its effects on the labor market, and the study conducted by Mauer and his colleagues, which centralizes on the effects of prisons in rural communities, reinforces the idea that due to incarceration rates increasing, unemployment levels rise as well which negatively influence the United State economy.Alongside with the levels of unemployment increasing due to incarceration levels rising, the construction of correctional facilities have also increased which have proven to bring no economic prosperity. Gregory Hooks, Professor in the Sociology department at Washington State University, and his colleagues, raise the question as to whether or not the construction of prisons engenders economic prosperity in communities. They assess their claim by analyzing data on all new and existing prisons in the United States since 1960 to examine the impact that these prison systems have on the local communities from 1976 to 2004 (Hooks et al,. 2010). The conclusions derived from the study was that the enhanced human capital is what stimulated economic prosperity in the communities, not the prisons. Furthermore, they were able to find evidence to show that the construction of prisons actually hampers economic growth in bucolic areas because prisons do not offer economic benefits to local communities (Hooks et al., 2010). Naysayers may argue that the construction of correctional facilities does bring economic prosperity. The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) claims that 70 percent of prisons are located in rural areas and within that  percentage a gross total of $74 billion dollars was accumulated. (PBS, 2017). However, evidence indicates that it is more economically beneficial to reduce the construction of correctional facilities. Jacob Reich, research assistant at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, asserts that from 2008 to 2009, “Nevada decreased the state’s prison population by 1.6%, which saved the state $38 million and prevented Nevada from spending $1.2 billion on construction costs” (Reich, 2017). This prime example strengthens the ideology that it is more economically beneficial when the constructions of correctional facilities decrease or remain constant. The results from Hooks and his colleagues determining whether or not the construction of prisons stimulates economic growth in communities and the example about Nevada saving approximately $1.2 billion dollars when the number of incarcerated individuals decreased, which causes the rates of construction to decrease, further enhances the argument that the construction of facilities is rather harmful to the United States economy than it is beneficial.The Obama Administration proclaims that “recent survey data suggest that yearly average costs of confinement range from $14,000 to $60,000 per adult prisoner and $40,000 to $350,000 per juvenile detainee across States” (The Obama Administration, 2013). A portion of this money comes directly from the annual income of taxpayers. To be exact, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) reveals that “prisons, juvenile justice programs, and parole and other corrections programs make up about 5 percent of state budgets” (CBPP, 2017). They further go on claiming that “these costs grew significantly over recent decades as states sent more people to prison and left them there longer” (CBPP, 2017). Undoubtedly, taxpayers are negatively impacted. With the statistic previously mentioned by Goffman about the 700 percent increase in incarceration rates, taxpayers will most likely experience an even greater increase in the amount of money given to prisons. From 1982 to 2002, state and federal spending on corrections increased by 423 percent; to specify, from $40 to $209 per U.S. resident.Taxpayers spent nearly $68.7 billion in 2008 to clothe, feed, and provide medical care to prisoners (Kirchhoff, 2013). Evidently, due to the high rates of incarceration, the amount of money taken away from taxpayers for prisons drastically increase. To further clarify the effects that prisons have on taxpayers, Chris Mai, research associate in Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections, along with Ram Subramanian, lawyer who has worked for many years on issues of democracy, and judicial independence, announces that “since 2010, 23 states have reduced the size of their prison populations. Vera’s research found that 13 of these states have saved considerably in taxpayer money — $1.6 billion — at the same time” (Mai & Subramanian, 2017). In other words, the effects that prisons impose on the United States economy are unfavorable.   All in all, the economic effects of prisons in the United States have been negative. Due to incarceration rates increasing, the rate of unemployment is also increasing, which results in a fluctuation in the economy. Moreover, the constructions of correctional facilities have increased which have proven to bring no economic prosperity. As a domino effect, taxpayers get negatively affected as well due to the fact that they are experiencing an increase in the amount of money they have to give to the prisons. Summarily, the overall impacts of prisons in the United States appears to be negative to the economy.