Morenoff briefs Congress on costs of incarceration

October 10, 2019

Crime, the saying goes, does not pay. Yet neither does incarceration, according to research presented by Dr. Jeffrey Morenoff (U. of Michigan) and Dr. Sam Norris (U. Chicago) at a recent congressional briefing. The briefing, “Cost and Effect: Measuring the Impact of Incarceration on Individuals, Neighborhoods and Society,” took place before a standing-room-only crowd on October 10, 2019, and was moderated by Nancy G. La Vigne, a national expert on criminal justice at the Urban Institute.Morenoff, who recently served on the PAA Board and currently serves as an officer for the Association of Population Centers (APC), conducted extensive research on the pathways to reentry from prison back into society, drawn from a cohort of 11,000 formerly incarcerated individuals in the Michigan criminal justice system. With evidence compiled from administrative data along with in-depth interviews and longitudinal tracking of a sample of individuals as they progressed through the reintegration process, Morenoff showed how family ties, administrative burden (including fees associated with parole and minor infractions), and housing and economic instability exerted pressures that could help or hinder reintegration. This evidence is also detailed in a book co-authored by Morenoff and released this year, On the Outside: Prisoner Reentry and Reintegration.

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