When men get women pregnant and then abandon them to raise children on their own, it increases the number of people (mostly men) who are incarcerated and there is a significant cost to our entire society. Even when you compare people of similar incomes, children raised by single mothers are 300% more likely to be incarcerated by the time they’re 30. Why are these women having to raise kids on their own? Predominantly because a man treated them like a sex object and then failed to step up to his responsibility as a father. There are of course other circumstances that can lead to single parents (e.g., early death), but that’s the predominant reason.
In preparation for the upcoming JusticeNYC Conference on November 1st, we surveyed men on the impact of single motherhood on incarceration rates. Only 4% of men answered the question correctly. This was a multiple choice survey question with only 10 possible answers. If everyone guessed randomly, then you would expect 10% to get the answer correct. But it was 4%. What’s more concerning is that 38% of men didn’t know enough to make a guess on a multiple choice survey. Another 48% underestimated the impact. There is clearly a lack of knowledge about this.
So why is it even important for men to understand this? Because if we don’t understand the scope of the problem, it’s very difficult to solve it. The U.S. has the largest prison population in the world at more than 2.2M. This is obviously bad for many people but first and foremost the people incarcerated. Its not a pleasant experience to be put in jail and even once you’re out, it’s more difficult to find employment because of your history of incarceration.
Furthermore, there is a huge economic impact. It costs a lot of money to keep all those people in jail. In addition, they aren’t working and paying taxes. Most of the prison population are men of working age. There are only about 147M people working in our country. That means if you’re working, you’re on the hook for about 1.5% of the cost of those inmates in the form of tax dollars (2.2M/147M). One study estimated the cost of each inmate at $31K per year. So if you’re a worker, on average you’re paying $465 (1.5% X $31K) more each year. And that’s just average. The salaries in NYC are much higher and cover more of the tax burden, so you’re really paying a lot more. It’s easily over $1,000. Plus, those 2.2M aren’t working and paying taxes, so your taxes are even higher to cover what they’re not paying into the system.
So what’s the point of all this? When you see a man who is treating a woman like a sex object, he’s costing you money. A lot of money. If you don’t challenge him to change his attitude toward women, then stop complaining that your taxes are so high.