U.S. economic growth suffers when former prisoners and convicted felons are locked out of the labor market, a new study shows.
Employment barriers faced by former offenders resulted in the estimated loss of 1.7 million to 1.9 million workers in 2014, reducing the overall U.S. employment rate by almost 1 percentage point, according to the report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
That translates into a $78 billion to $87 billion loss in annual gross domestic product (GDP) for the United States.
A national report released Tuesday aims to shed light on the hidden impacts mass incarceration has on families and their economic stability, health and well-being.
Over 20 community-based organizations from across the country, including the Chicago-based Workers Center for Racial Justice (WCRJ), spent more than a year developing the report, which is based on over 1,100 surveys of formerly incarcerated people, families with incarcerated loved ones and employers.
"Everyone knows about the $80 billion that our cities and states and the federal government (spend) locking people up, but what is not known is the amount of money that we incur when ourselves and loved ones get locked up," WCRJ's Executive Director DeAngelo Bester said at a Tuesday press conference in Chicago.