How the U.S. imprisons the poor

Around half of people who are imprisoned in the U.S. had no earnings in the years leading up to their incarceration — and the year before the percentage jumps to 80%, according to a new study by the Brookings Institution which examined IRS filings and the BJS National Prisoner Survey.

Data: Brookings Institution; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Why it matters: The U.S. has the highest imprisonment rates in the world — and a quarter of formerly incarcerated Americans will end up back in prison within 8 years of their release, often due to the difficulty in making a living with a criminal record. Joblessness and poverty not only characterize the life of former prisoners, but also the life of those who will end up in prison,