Those Around Us

Nathan Painter, Staff Writer

Chances are you know someone who has been in prison. Unfortunately this is all too common. Statistically a little less than 1% of the United States population is in prison.

This is a problem that plagues many of our students. We have students from a plethora of backgrounds and many of which contain some form of incarceration of loved ones. One in 28 American kids have a parent in the prison system.

With that ratio, in our school, there would statistically be ~37 students in our school district that currently have a parent in prison.

An interesting question arises when you talk about these numbers — why are there this many people in prison?

Let us first talk about these numbers, there are 2,220,300 people in prison as of 2013 and there are currently 4,751,400 people on probation/parole. Those numbers add to up roughly 2% of the united states adult population.

The Prison Policy Initiative recently published, “The Whole Pie” (March 14th, 2017) which is a graph tallying the reasons why every current inmate is in prison. One in 5 of the people locked up currently are facing a non-violent drug offense. With that ratio, there are 1,394,340 people who are either currently in prison or on parole/probation who now have a felony for a non-violent drug offense.

I feel as though it is important to state what a non-violent drug offense would be. This would include – the sale or manufacture of an illegal substance, the possession of an illegal substance, or the consumption of an illegal substance.

Now with that being said, why does this matter?

It becomes important to us all when we begin to realize how many grow up without parents in our area because they have been imprisoned. If we use that ratio of 1 in 28 then that means if you’re in band you have met ~6 students whose parents are currently locked up. Throughout a normal school day you will come across many people who also deal with this and yet you may not have ever known.

So getting to the point, you never truly know what someone is going through and we all should become more empathetic to those around us. Everyone struggles but not everyone thrives; you can be the reason why people see hope in the world when their hope was stripped away from them.

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