Accordingto Bruce Western and Megan Comfort, when men are incarcerated at such a highratio and are from targeted communities and/or race men and family suffer fromthe imprisonment. In majority the first ones who end up suffering are the wivesbut surprisingly as Megan Comfort shows there are times where they are actuallybenefiting from their men being in prison.
In Doing Time Together, Comfort puts the question of why women decideto stay with men which are in prison. Many of the women whom say they eitherhave met the men through rehab programs or they have just been in therelationship before they went into prison get the attention they want. Thesewomen get one hundred percent of the attention from the men, they claim thatthe men are nicer, more romantic and affectionate. These women are feel in morecontrol of their lives and they don’t have to be submissive to a man, the manare submissive to them.
For the women prison also works as a resource and arehab center for these men, they claim that this way their husbands stay offdrugs and the streets as well as from being abusive to the women. Yet for thesewomen who do have partners in prison and go visit them have to go through arigorous procedure, making it seem like they too are in a prison. Megan Comfortwrites about many of the events that happen in the “tube” as she calls it. Shewrites that “the tube reminds me of a slave-holding tank”. Women and kids haveto go dressed a certain way, they cannot be “too dressed”. Mothers with babieshave to carry them the whole time they are there waiting since they cannot takethe strollers or any sort of item aside from the baby’s milk. But what happens when the amount ofmen in prison is greater than in the communities? Bruce Western writes that”growing numbers of female-headed families increased the risks of enduringpoverty for women and children.
Growing up poor also raised a child’s risk ofschool failure, poor health, and delinquency”. In the 1980’s a researchertraced the number of female-headed households in specific in the blackcommunity. He found that there was a great decrease of “marriageable” men inthe poor urban neighborhoods. This is due to the high rates of incarceration andmortality. This keeps forming a never ending cycle of men who once they get outof prison are striped from all their rights as I said before. They cannot finda job, they cannot support a family and the list goes on. Western speaks aboutstudies done which “examined the impact of men’s employment on marriage ratesand found that the unemployed are less likely to be married and thatjoblessness can increase chances of divorce or separation”. The kids of thesemen with criminal records tend to have little or no contact with their fathereven when they are released.
This leads to many children growing without a dadand these children will go and involve in illegal activities and be punishedjust how their father did. Once again we see the cycle going on here. In conclusion, America has become acountry where imprisoning people is more important than helping rehabilitatingthem. Since the 1960s crime has been increasing significantly. Yet it has onlyincreased for minorities, in specific Blacks. This has affected many familiesand communities making it a cycle for every male in a household have a greatchance of going into prison sometime in their lifetime. “By building more prisons,severely criminalizing drug-related activity, mandating prison time, andlengthening sentences, lawmakers chose a punitive course that abandoned thelong-standing ideal of rehabilitation” (Western, Bruce). Mass incarceration onlybecame common for poorly educated black men.
Therefore, this added unemploymentand family instability to those with the least economic power and familysupport. Today there are new policies being implemented and negative effectskeep getting worse. Even though it is very expensive to maintain a prison, manycorporations are receiving free labor and prisons employ thousands of peoplethroughout the U.S. Mass incarceration created a system of social inequality, “asocial structure in which social inequalities are self-sustaining and those atthe bottom have few prospects for upward mobility”.