Families Outside will be hosting its next conference at the Perth Concert Hall on Tuesday 1 December 2015. With the title By Families, For Families, the event will focus on the experiences of families affected by imprisonment with the families themselves taking the lead in the day’s proceedings. – See more at: http://www.familiesoutside.org.uk/national-conference-2015-save-the-date/

Study Reveals the Financial Impact of Mass Incarceration on Families


September 15th, 2015: Oakland, Calif. — Who Pays? The True Cost of Incarceration on Families proves that the costs of locking up millions of people are much deeper than we think — when we lock up individuals, we also break apart their families and communities. This new report reveals the overwhelming debt, mental and physical ailments, and severed family bonds that are some of the hidden consequences of mass incarceration in the United States.

“This study confirms what society has ignored for too long — that already vulnerable families and the women who sustain them are being plummeted into greater poverty, stress, and strain when their loved ones are incarcerated,” says Alicia Walters, Movement Building Director at Forward Together, a leading organization in the project. “Decades of bad policy have torn families apart, typically leaving mothers to make up the difference and bear the brunt of these costs.”

The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Forward Together, and Research Action Design led this year-long collaborative research project with 20 community-based organizations across the country. Researchers interviewed nearly 1,500 formerly incarcerated people, their family members, and employers on the impacts of incarceration.


  • People impacted by incarceration are saddled with copious fees, fines, and debt while suffering through diminished economic opportunities that affect families for generations.
  • Women and families bear the brunt of these costs, and are the primary resources for the housing, employment and health needs of their formerly incarcerated loved ones, filling the gaps left by a lack of reentry services.
  • Incarceration damages families and prevents stability, causing lifelong health impacts and perpetuating cycles of trauma and poverty that keep families and communities from thriving.