The Economics of Mass Incarceration: How Imprisonment Due to Drug Offenses Impacts the Economy of Texas
Date of Award
Moore School of Business
Director of Thesis
Dr. Jason DeBacker
Dr. Danna Thomas
I begin by addressing drug use and how it impacts individuals’ economic outcomes, through psychological substance abuse disorders, income, and employment, where I discuss how each factor is impacted by drug use. Next, I undergo the same process for how incarceration and how it affects economic outcomes of individuals, through the debt cycle, the drain of household resources, limited/lack of pay while in prison, and difficulty in finding employment after release from prison. I follow this by connecting incarceration to drug use by writing about the background on the United States’ incarceration rates and link to drug enforcement and systemic racism in enforcement and sentencing. Next, I discuss the background on Texas, which includes recent trends, employment shares by industry, and mean income/poverty rates by race in the Texan economy, as well as recent trends and changes in enforcement and sentencing for drug crimes in the state. Then I address how drug enforcement impacts the Texan economy directly through the number of people in jail as a percentage of a different population of workers, lost wages/spending, and extended impacts. Finally, I bring up solutions and coming changes through policy and suggested solutions before a conclusion.
Letterhos, Leah N., "The Economics of Mass Incarceration: How Imprisonment Due to Drug Offenses Impacts the Economy of Texas" (2023). Senior Theses. 582.