Pubdate: Thu, 13 May 1999
Date: 05/13/1999
Source: New York Times (NY)
Author: Marc Mauer
Note: Subj: line and title by MAP editor

To the Editor:
Your May 9 Week in Review analysis of low unemployment in the United States
compared with other industrialized countries overlooks a key factor: United
States rates of incarceration are 5 to 10 times those of other
industrialized countries.

Incorporating these figures into unemployment calculations raises
male unemployment rates by two percentage points and black male rates
by seven points.

High rates of imprisonment affect labor-market issues in other ways as
well. A prison record reduces one's prospects of finding gainful
employment, but, conversely, the vast expansion of the prison system
in the past quarter century has created a surging area of employment
for prison guards, construction workers and associated services.

May 12, 1999