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Many Americans have close relatives living in jail

In New York and other states, a new study shows that 45 percent of adults have a close relative who was arrested and sent to prison. The high percentage breaks previous records. Cornell University experts did not expect these astonishing results. As part of this study, one statistic shows that a person’s brother or sister gets sent to prison more often than other family members. The African-American community has a higher number of family members in prison, reaching approximately 60 percent. The same percentage applies to adults who have low educational backgrounds.

The study shows that people of all backgrounds have relatives in prison. One out of seven Caucasians with college degrees has close relatives who have spent time living in prison. According to author Christopher Wildeman, most researchers think white people with university educations do not commit crimes or go to jail, but this study proves that incarceration affects many American families regardless of their social, cultural or educational backgrounds.

A faculty member at the College of Arts and Sciences mentioned that individuals who have close relatives in prison often experience profound problems in their lives. Taking care of a family and earning an income is more difficult for a spouse with an incarcerated marital partner. The same informal rule applies to children who grow up in a single-parent home.

Any American facing a possible prison sentence has a legal right to work with a criminal defense attorney. Laws exist to guarantee every person a fair chance to prove a case. When a person experiences an arrest for a suspected crime, working with a criminal defense lawyer to build a defense gives the defendant an equitable chance at reducing their sentence or even getting charges dismissed completely.