Mass Incarceration's Impact on Jobs and Hunger

August 14, 2019
Bryan Stevenson is the Founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative.

As we continue to observe Black August — a month that focuses on the unjust treatment of African Americans in our criminal justice system — Bread affirms the adverse impact that mass incarceration has on unemployment, a major root cause of hunger in the African American community.

Mass incarceration hurts a person’s ability to get, and keep, a good-paying job.

Jobs are critically important to earn an income and provide for a family. Unfortunately, 70 percent of people returning from jail or prison report having a difficult, or impossible, time securing employment.

Employers can still legally discriminate against people with a record, making it harder to get a job paying above poverty-level wages and put food on the table.

But this harsh reality need not continue. To learn more about the impact of mass incarceration on jobs and hunger and what you can do to help, read Mass Incarceration: A Major Cause of Hunger.

91% of people returning from jail and prison face hunger

from our Resource Library

For Education

  • Election Resources

    One of the best times to raise the issues of hunger and poverty is during election campaigns. Engage candidates in your state/district on hunger and poverty using our elections resources.
  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Conflict and Fragility Are Hunger Issues

    Conflict is a main driver of the recent increase in hunger around the world and of forced migration. Hunger also contributes to conflict.

For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.

    The Bible on...

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

For Advocacy