San Francisco’s top prosecutor, Chesa Boudin, raised some eyebrows when he said that the vast majority of American households have had a family member spend time in jail or prison.
Boudin was on PBS’s Amanpour & Co. when he made the statement about his parents being in prison
“My earliest memories are going through metal detectors and steel gates, just to see my parents, just to give them a hug,” Boudin said. “I’ve now been visiting my father in prison for nearly 40 years.”
The study was designed for FWD.us, a nonprofit founded in 2013 by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and says, “The data show that 45% of Americans have ever had an immediate family member incarcerated.” A breakdown of those families by ethnicity shows that 63% of Black families, 42% of White and 48% of Hispanic families have been impacted, just shy of Boudin’s statements.
“The overall rate of Americans who have had an immediate family member behind bars, 45 percent, is remarkably high but not quite a “majority” and far from a “vast majority,” said Washington Post reporter Salvador Rizzo.
“The D.A. was referring to a study by criminal justice non-profit FWD.us and Cornell University,” said Rachel Marshall, a spokeswoman for Boudin. “[That study] found that 64% of U.S. adults have had an immediate or extended family member spend time in jail or prison and described the situation nationwide as an ‘incarceration crisis.”’
However, this 64% is only possible when combining the percentages of immediate and extended family members who have spent time behind bars.
“The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world,” said the Washington Post. In all the data from the article, Blacks were always first in the percentages of adults in prison or jail.
Enns, when reached to reconcile the difference, stated:
“You are correct that our research found that close to half (45%) of adults have had an immediate family member who spent at least a night in prison or jail at some point in the family member’s life. Sixty-four percent have had an immediate or extended family member who spent at least a night in prison or jail at some point.”
No matter the data percentages, Blacks were always in the higher percentile levels of people who have experience with incarceration in the United States of America.