Do financial obligations levied on current and former incarcerated people penalize the poor? A majority of people locked up are either poor or unemployed, prior to incarceration, according to the Prison Policy Initiative’s compilation of data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Fines, fees, and restitution payments pile up for many people leaving prison, making it nearly impossible to find a way out of poverty. KBCS’s Yuko Kodama speaks with Alexes Harris, a University of Washington Sociology Professor who researched monetary sanctions on incarcerated people for her 2016 book, “A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions as a Punishment for the Poor“. Harris shares her thoughts on inequality and the intersection of poverty and incarceration.
According to a recent report from the National Employment Law Project, low-wage jobs are the fastest-growing sector of the economy. This makes the good-jobs deficit even deeper than it was at the start of the 21st century. The report says the unbalanced recession and recovery mean the long-term inequality in the U.S. continues to rise.
Tomorrow is May Day. A march is planned in downtown Seattle and on Thursday, May 2nd Working Washington hosts a Poverty-wage Story Slam. We have some of those participating in Thursday’s event here to share their story:
Spencer is an airport worker who loads and unloads baggage for Alaska Airlines passengers at Sea-Tac Airport. He makes around $12.25/hour.
Arturo is an immigrant from Mexico who has worked 5 years at a fast-food chain in North Seattle and is paid less than $10/hour.
Sarah Laslett, Director of Washington State Labor and Education Research Center at South Seattle Community College.
Listen to the interview: KBCS_M+I_2013043_LowWageWork
Share this story by clicking the Facebook or Twitter icon on the right side of the screen.