Over seven decades, Sidney Porterfield and members of his extended family have been a violent, drug-peddling, thieving scourge on Memphis’ Shelby County, says the Memphis Commercial Appeal. They’ve been involved in at least 14 shootings, four murders, and countless break-ins and assaults–in all, 407 arrests.
Theirs is an extreme case that portends a national epidemic. The cycle of intergenerational crime, fueled by poverty, domestic violence and poor parenting, is chewing up one generation after another in some urban communities. U.S. Justice Department surveys show that nearly half the nation’s inmates have relatives who’ve been incarcerated. In Memphis, nearly two-thirds of all juveniles charged with delinquent offenses have siblings who also have criminal records.