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2015 Iscol Lecture

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Workforce of the Future
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Reshma Saujani
Founder and CEO, Girls Who Code

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Two in five African-American women know a prisoner

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news-wildeman-inpostRecent research findings, co-authored by BCTR affiliate and fellow Christopher Wildeman (Policy Analysis & Management), show that on average African-American adults, and women in particular, are more likely to be acquainted with someone who is incarcerated  than whites. Forty-four percent of black women and 32 percent of black men have a family member, neighbor, or acquaintance in prison, compared to 12 percent of white women and 6 percent of white men.

In a Cornell Chronicle article, Wildeman notes,

Our estimates show even deeper racial inequalities in connectedness to prisoners than previous work might have implied. Because imprisonment has negative consequences not only for the men and women who cycle through the system but also for the parents, partners and progeny they leave behind, mass imprisonment’s long-term consequences of racial inequality in the United States might be even greater than any of us working in this area had originally suspected.

These results show further racial inequality wrought by the U.S. prison boom, with potentially harmful consequences to families and communities lacking social supports to raise children and manage households.

The study was led by University of Washington associate professor of sociology Hedwig Lee ’03 and co-authored by Wildeman and was published by Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race. The article, Racial Inequalities in Connectedness to Imprisoned Individuals in the United States, is co-authored by Tyler McCormick at the University of Washington and Margaret Hicken at the University of Michigan. The study was unfunded.

Wildeman is co-organizer (with Anna Haskins, Sociology, and Julie Poelhmann-Tynan, University of Wisconsin - Madison) of the 2016 Bronfebrenner Conference, which will examine mass incarceration's effects on children.


Study: 2 in 5 African-American women know a prisoner - Cornell Chronicle
Racial inequalities in connectedness to imprisoned individuals in the United States - Du Bois Review

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Talks at Twelve: Christopher Wildeman

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Children of the Prison Boom: Mass Incarceration and the Future of American Inequality
Tuesday, January 27, 2014

Christopher Wildeman
Policy Analysis & Management, Cornell University

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Talks at Twelve: Christopher Wildeman, Tuesday, January 27, 2015

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Children of the Prison Boom: Mass Incarceration and the Future of American Inequality
Christopher Wildeman, Policy Analysis and Management, Cornell University

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Beebe Hall, 2nd floor conference room

This talk is open to all. Lunch will be served. Metered parking is available in the Plantations lot across the road from Beebe Hall.

In this talk, Christopher Wildeman will provide evidence supporting three claims: 1) that parental imprisonment has been transformed from an event affecting only the unluckiest of children to one that is remarkably common, especially for black children. 2) that even for already-marginalized children, paternal incarceration makes a bad situation worse, increasing mental health and behavioral problems, infant mortality, and child homelessness. 3) that these harms to children translate into large-scale increases in racial inequalities—even larger, in fact, than the consequences of mass imprisonment for racial inequality among adult men. Parental imprisonment has thus become a distinctively American way of perpetuating inter-generational inequality, one that should be placed alongside a decaying public education system and concentrated disadvantage in urban centers as a factor that disproportionately touches, and damages, poor black children.

Christopher Wildeman is an Associate Professor of Policy Analysis and Management (PAM) in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University, a faculty fellow at the BCTR, the Center for the Study of Inequality (CSI), Court-Kay-Bauer Hall, the Cornell Population Center (CPC), and since 2013, a Visiting Fellow at the Bureau of Justice Statistics in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining Cornell’s faculty in 2014, Christopher was at Yale University as an Associate Professor of Sociology, a faculty fellow at both the Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course (CIQLE) and the Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS), as well as the co-director of the New Haven Branch of the Scholars Strategy Network (SSN). He received his Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography from Princeton University in 2008. From 2008-2010, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar and postdoctoral affiliate in the Population Studies Center (PSC) at the University of Michigan. His research and teaching interests revolve around the consequences of mass imprisonment for inequality, with emphasis on families, health, and children -- especially as related to child maltreatment and the foster care system. He is the 2013 recipient of the Ruth Shonle Cavan Young Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology.

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Income inequality linked to higher rates of child abuse and neglect

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BCTR director John Eckenrode is lead author of a new article, Income Inequality and Child Maltreatment in the United States, published in February in the journal Pediatrics. Eckenrode, who also serves as director of the BCTR's National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN), co-authored the article with NDACAN researchers Elliott Smith, Margaret McCarthy, and Michael Dineen. The article reports findings from a study comparing substantiated reports of child abuse and neglect with nationwide county-level data on income equality and poverty, covering 3,142 U.S. counties. The study concluded,

Higher income inequality across US counties was significantly associated with higher county-level rates of child maltreatment. The findings contribute to the growing literature linking greater income inequality to a range of poor health and well-being outcomes in infants and children.

In a Cornell Chronicle article on the findings, Eckenrode is quoted, saying,

... reducing poverty and inequality would be the single most effective way to prevent maltreatment of children, but in addition there are proven programs that work to support parents and children and help to reduce the chances of abuse and neglect – clearly a multifaceted strategy is needed.

Support for the study came from the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Income inequality and child maltreatment in the United States - Pediatrics
Child abuse and neglect rise with income inequality - Cornell Chronicle
Child abuse rises with income inequality, Cornell study shows - Ithaca Journal
More kids struggle where the income gap widens - Christian Science Monitor
Rising child abuse linked to rising income inequality, study reports - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Kids may suffer in gaps between haves and have-nots - Reuters

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Dunifon on WSKG Radio’s Community Conversations

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dunifonBCTR associate director Rachel Dunifon participated in the WSKG program Community Conversations on the topic of Women and the Workplace. Dunifon was in discussion with host Crystal Sarakas and guest Phoebe Taubman, Staff Attorney at A Better Balance. The group considered income inequality, specific difficulties for lower income working women, issues of work/family balance, and how policy could address such issues.

Audio of the program can be heard here.

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2010 Iscol Lecture

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The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World
September 27, 2010

Jacqueline Novogratz
Founder and CEO, Acumen Fund

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