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Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage

Picture of Micky Duxbury

The yearly costs of incarcerating an inmate in California have surpassed $47,000. but that is just the tip-of-the-iceberg in terms of the costs to entire communities, most particularly communities-of-color.

Parts of Oakland that are most impacted by poverty, crime, and poor schools are the same communities that absorb the bulk of the formerly incarcerated. Using 2010 data from the Alameda County Reentry Network, 5143 parolees and probationers currently reside in 5 zip code areas in Oakland. And the formerly incarcerated return with little human capital: they are often barred from welfare, they can't benefit from public housing, they are denied loans, and they are returning from institutions that often promote aggression, mistrust, and emotional withdrawal.

A series of three articles will look at the impact of incarceration on Oakland and answer some of these questions: What are the impacts on children of having a parent incarcerated? What is the relationship between numbers of children in the foster system and incarceration? What are impacts on child development and learning when a parent is incarcerated? I'll be looking at the effects of incarceration on family relationships, and the economic costs to families of having a member incarcerated.

California's new realignment policies will mean that more money will be flowing to the counties, and the series will look at whether some of those funds will be used to lessen these public health impacts of incarceration. In a series of reported stories, blog posts, data visualizations and interactive databases/tools, Oakland Local will take an in-depth look at the impact of incarceration and release on the inhabitants of the neighborhoods in Oakland that are most impacted by the formerly incarcerated.

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