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Join the sociology department as it hosts Dr. Chris Wildeman (Duke University & ROCKWOOL Foundation Research Unit) for his talk “How Much Does Having a Family Member Incarcerated Cost.”

Each year, several million Americans spend a significant amount of time in prison or jail. During this time, their families are called upon to provide financial support in myriad ways, including, but not limited to, paying for collect calls, putting money “on their books” through commissary contributions, and providing goods such as shoes, toiletries, and electronic devices directly. U

Unfortunately, these direct costs of having a family member incarcerated have never been quantified, leading people to underestimate the family consequences of mass incarceration. In order to quantify these costs, researchers created and fielded a new survey in collaboration with and NORC at the University of Chicago, the Family Incarceration Costs Survey (FICS). FICS consists of a nationally representative sample of over 1,500 individuals who have had a family member incarcerated in recent years and provides a wide range of details about the exact nature and magnitude of direct and indirect costs associated with family member incarceration. They present initial estimates for how much adults spend on their incarcerated family member on average for various types of costs. In addition, they consider how family member relationship type (i.e., spouse, parent, sibling, etc.), race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status moderate such costs.

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