“Prison has a direct effect on crime: it puts a bad person behind bars, where he can’t victimize anyone else. But it also has an indirect effect on crime, in that it affects all the people with whom that criminal comes into contact. A very high number of the men who get sent to prison, for example, are fathers. (One-fourth of juveniles convicted of crimes have children.) And the effect on a child of having a father sent away to prison is devastating. Some criminals are lousy fathers: abusive, volatile, absent. But many are not. Their earnings—both from crime and legal jobs—help support their families. For a child, losing a father to prison is an undesirable difficulty. Having a parent incarcerated increases a child’s chances of juvenile delinquency between 300 and 400 percent; it increases the odds of a serious psychiatric disorder by 250 percent.”

Gladwell, Malcolm. “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.”

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