Children of Incarcerated Parents Bear the Weight of the War on Drugs

Growing up with an incarcerated parent can be tough. The feelings of isolation and stigma that I and others like me experienced growing up were a tough burden to bear.

To ignore the impact of incarceration on the family is to ignore how the drug war continues to dismantle black and Latino communities. The United States’ prison population — fueled by the war on drugs — is increasing, with blacks and Latinos being the majority of those incarcerated.

2.7 million children are growing up in U.S. households in which one or more parents are incarcerated. Two-thirds of these parents are incarcerated for nonviolent offenses, primarily drug offenses. One in nine black children has an incarcerated parent, compared to one in 28 Latino children and one in 57 white children.

Incarcerated people have families and communities they belong to, and when they go to prison an array of problems develop.

My father immigrated to the United States from Jamaica in the 1970s. I was four years old when my dad went away, and my younger brother was two years old. He was convicted for trafficking in cocaine and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

– Read the entire article in The Huffington Post.



  1. Mrs. Ratsrectum on

    So what if the feds no longer enforce cannabis prohibition is states that have laws of your own, you say? State and local laws about primarily recreational marijuana use are the laws are still being enforced, except in the two states, Colorado and Washington, that have legalized adult recreational use.

    Once the feds are out of the way other states will legalize both medical marijuana and adult recreational use, too. More states will jump on that cannabis money train, and as a result drastically far fewer people will be fed into the criminal justice meat grinder, AND since people of color are being over-policed by the new Jim Crow, the drug laws, the country will be another step or five on the way to having more stable lives and families, without the employment and university/college opportunities ruined for them.

    All O’Bummer has to do is somehow get the feds out of states that have their own laws regulating cannabis for medical or recreational purposes. That gets the ball rolling. Much of the rest that will improve racial disparity and relations will follow in the concatenated reaction. Unforntunately, it’ll take a generation perhaps to see the upwardly mobile and antipoverty results. You’ll have to make tweaks on the way for better results.

    This is the start, O’Bummer. Get the feds out of the way.

  2. Mrs. Ratsrectum on


    O’Bummer mentioned the disproportion of Black and Latino in the criminal justice system compared to Whites, that people of color are being over-policed. He also mentioned that he thought is was something that needs to be dealt with at the local and state levels, which appears as though he’s not going to do anything at the national level.


    Although O’Bummer’s never said that he would Not sign legalization legislation into law, he has either ignored or laughed off questions put to him about legalizing marijuana. He has done nothing to cut the funding or make the policy that the feds will Not enforce federal cannabis prohibition in states with laws of their own.

  3. Dave on

    The bullies keep it going because like parasites, they feed off of it. They know the harms to families, in fact they nurture their system of abuse to ensure job security. It’s like planting seeds to create another generation.

    It’s like Michelle Alexander has been saying, the war on drugs is the new jim crow.