Prisons of Poverty: Uncovering the Pre-incarceration Incomes of the Imprisoned

Prison Policy InitiativeThe median annual income for individuals involved with the justice system before their incarceration was $19,185—which is 41 percent less than their counterparts, on average—according to a report from the Prison Policy Initiative.

Using data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the report finds that the majority of incarcerated people had low income and little access to quality education or jobs before their incarceration, compared to their counterparts in similar age groups, who were not incarcerated.

This income gap exists among whites, blacks, and Hispanics, though the gap is most dramatic among white men and the smallest among Hispanic women.