Mass Incarceration: The Social and Economic Costs


10 am

Despite the steady drop in crime, incarceration rates have risen over the past 30 years, and the US rate is far above many other democracies in the world. The costs of imprisonment are alarming: almost a quarter-trillion dollars a year, all told, and the social price is just as steep. This hour we’ll discuss how we reached this point, and where solutions might lie.


  • Jeremy Travis, President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City
  • David Singleton, Executive Director at Ohio Justice and Policy Center
  • Melissa Kearney, Director of The Hamilton Project at The Brookings Institution


Listen to all parts of our Mass Incarceration series

#1:  The Social and Economic Costs

#2: Ohio’s Parole Board

#3: The Recidivism Rate

#4: Victim Advocacy

Join The Conversation

  • Avery Winston

    Throwing people in prison for something that should be a public health issue is just destroying families, and communities. People are not getting the help the need and just become victims of a system that throws them in jail and then allows them no other option than to resort to crime if they want to make any money; a felony will not let you get most jobs, public assistance, or housing. We have to help people rather than punish them.

    • Penny MissinglovingbelongstoBi


  • Donald Perry

    When I met my boyfriend Donald Perry he had a place to live, a car, a good job. He is well respected in the community. He did programs, counseling, and put himself though school. In 2010 he was put back in prison on a parole violation for a crime he was found not guilty of. No three years later he has to start over. Our story was featured in a documentary “The System” by Joe Berlinger. The cost? Too much

  • Penny MissinglovingbelongstoBi

    My husband is old law first time offender never killed nor raped any one yet the parole board gave him 8 more years nearly 4 years ago FOR THE NATURE OF CRIME being the main reason hello the nature of crime will never change , but him being rehabilitaed can be changed yet they didnt even acknowledge his instiruional record if his working ethics, his trades, his programs he has taken , YET TELL HIM TO REPEAT PROGRAMS HE HAD ALREADY TAKEN. MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN IN SINCE HE WAS JUVINILLE HE IS A GROWN MAN FULL OF LIFE AND YOUNG ENOUGH TO GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY … SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE WITH THE PAROLE BOARD.

  • Penny MissinglovingbelongstoBi

    There was once a paroke board member that went to the prison and there was a co that had asjed why old law inmates not being released here is what was said : let me give you a pile of bricks and i tell you to stack those bricks all nice and neat and when you get to the last brick you are fired, how long will it take you to stack those bricks? So basically old law is job security for the parole board and my husband and those alike are just a pile of bricks with no real look at freedom and no hope to prove they have done all they could to rehabilitate themself . When is someone going to see this and give those inmates that have showed they are ready for there 2nd chance at living outside prison. I met my husband nearly 5 years ago we will celebrate our 4th anniversary next month august 14. If i and my family can give him a 2nd chance of love and acceptance why cant the justice system see the parole board is all wrong and give him a 2nd chance at freedom …

  • Penny MissinglovingbelongstoBi

    Ive been fighting for my husband for nearly 5 years now and all doors has been

  • marpaw

    Where do we start to change this

    • Penny MissinglovingbelongstoBi

      I so agree . Change is needed and there shouldnt be 2 laws if they make rhen they need to make all of old law retroactive nit just parts of it that benefit the prisons for instance okd law wasnt suppose ti oay fir med bay or electric etc. But they do have to pay so if that can be made done rhen why cant the entire law be made retroactive? Just curious its all about money and job security and all rather one has been truely rehabilitated .. yes im a bit aggravated….