Incarcerated people are disproportionately shut out of the economy even before they are locked up, reports the non-profit Prison Policy Initiative. Researchers Bernadette Rabuy and Daniel Kopf quantified a vast income gap, using raw data collected by the government. They found that incarcerated men had a median annual income of just $19,185 before they were imprisoned. That is less than half the median income earned by non-incarcerated men.
The report includes the pre-incarceration incomes of imprisoned people by race, ethnicity and gender and provides comparisons to the incomes of similarly aged non-incarcerated people. The report, Prisons of Poverty, updates the most commonly used numbers for the incomes of incarcerated people and for the first time provides national data on the pre-incarceration incomes of incarcerated women.