The United States accounts for less than 5 percent of the world’s inhabitants—and about 25 percent of its incarcerated inhabitants. And in 2000, one in 10 black males between the ages of 20 and 40 were incarcerated — 10 times the rate of their white peers.
This mass incarceration has financially crippled families who make the journey to visit loved ones in prison. It has also broken the family structure, with paternal incarceration being associated with behavioral problems and delinquency, especially among boys, so the cycle is continued.
This story looks at the legacy of mass incarceration on the families left behind and the communities that struggle to break through the failings of a system that handicaps their potential.