Mass incarceration is a term that describes a historically, comparatively, and demographically unique situation in the United States. It is historically unique because the incarceration rate—especially the prison incarceration rate—grew fourfold in just 30 years, after a long period of relative stability. It is comparatively unique because the U.S. leads the world in incarcerating its citizens. And it is demographically unique because the burden of incarceration is borne disproportionately by men of color. The objective of this study is to document the ways that the experience of incarceration reverberates across many life course domains: employment, education, marriage, fertility, mortality, and health. The data are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, and comprise men and women incarcerated in the 1980s—the decade when mass incarceration was set in motion. These individuals were last surveyed in their late 50s, offering a window into the long-term consequences and unequal burdens of this experiment with penal excess.
Gross Hall, Room 270