This report expertly "reveals that the costs of incarceration run deeper than budget line items and extend far beyond the sentences served. Whether behind bars or returning home, people who have experienced incarceration are a part of families – whether chosen or blood related – to whom them contribute and by whom they are supported. Families pay both the apparent and hidden costs while their loved ones serve out sentences and for a long time after. Our research found that families struggle to afford exorbitant financial costs while also dealing with intense emotional and physical trauma when a loved one is taken away." Sections following an executive summary include: introduction; the true costs of the punitive criminal justice system—challenge of meeting basic needs (i.e., court fees and fines, challenges to building economic stability (i.e., employment, education, public benefits, and housing), challenges to maintaining relationships and family stability (i.e., costs of maintaining contact, family separation, and parent-child relationships), and challenges to health during incarceration and beyond (i.e., health impacts of incarceration); recommendations—restructure and reinvest, remove barriers, and restore opportunities; and conclusion.
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Who Pays? The True Cost of Incarceration on Families