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Incarceration Impact Scholarship

Funded by
user profile avatar
Taylor Rae' Almonte
1 winner$1,083
Application Deadline
Apr 18, 2021
Winners Announced
May 17, 2021
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the entire world. Despite representing 5% of the global population, the country has 25% of the world’s prisoners.

In the 1970s, there were 340,000 million Americans incarcerated. Today, there are over 2 million. Unfortunately, this increase in the prison population was not distributed evenly. African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at 5x the rate of white people, making up 40% of the prison population, despite representing only 13% of the wider population. Similarly, Hispanic people are twice as likely as white people to be incarcerated, per capita.

The effects of incarceration extend beyond the jail cell. Among many hidden consequences is the impact of incarceration on dependent children, including their emotional, physical, educational, and financial well-being. For example, children with incarcerated parents are 6x more likely to get incarcerated.

This cycle does not need to continue. The Incarceration Impact Scholarship exists to support those disproportionately affected by incarceration in the US and is open to Black or Latinx students from low-income households with an incarcerated parent or legal guardian. 

To apply, tell us about how incarceration has impacted your life and your aspirations for the future.

Selection Criteria:
Reflection, Ambition, Purpose, Impact
Published December 16, 2020
Essay Topic

Please write about how incarceration has impacted your life and your aspirations for the future.

200–800 words

Winning Application

Jai’La Du Rousseau
University of California-IrvineCompton, CA
My father has been incarcerated all my life and has just recently gotten released. For as long as I could remember I hated my father because of how society encourages people to hate "criminals" rather than seeing them as a person who made a mistake. For this reason, my father was never able to have a relationship with me until now. For years my mother would wake me up to visit my dad in prison which seemed to get farther and farther every time he was relocated until my mother could no longer make the drive. Due to not having a father figure I fell into manipulative relationships and had a huge need for attention from boys, to fill the void of not having a father. Considering that my mother was the only parent I had, we were exceptionally close, and since I never experienced her in a relationship, especially with my father I had a hard time when he came back and took the time me and she once had from us. Soon I acquired a desire to watch documentaries about wrongfully convicted individuals on Netflix and study the patterns of criminals. I understand that this passion stemmed from my curiosity in crime and inmates, as I spent so much time around them yet I was deprived of their actual stories. I was deprived because of my naive ways, I fell into society's trap and decided to see inmates as monsters rather than people and this experience is what drives my desire to help other individuals change this view of inmates. During 2017, I interned at James Cooper’s Law Firm. As an intern, my primary responsibility was to construct written reports, analyze documents, perform clerical duties, and fax information. This experience allowed me to gain firsthand insight into the life of a criminal defense attorney. I was always interested in the stories of people who had been taken into the custody of law enforcement. I am displeased at the statistics of misrepresented or wrongfully accused victims, and people serving terms that are extensive for their crime, which is why I strive to become a Criminal Defense Attorney. For the past three years, I have worked to enhanced specific skills that will be beneficial as an attorney. For instance, I have participated in public-speaking opportunities through the Associated Student Body as Class President in my junior and senior year, allowing me to enhance my communication skills. Through this opportunity, I was appointed spokesperson for the school’s morning announcements, dual enrollment, and Black History Month and I currently host a podcast for my school’s newspaper called “Two Peas In a PodCast.” I have developed a passion for helping incarcerated individuals be seen as humans rather than monsters and I want to help not only others but themselves see that there is a life ahead of them, they just need someone to care for them.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 18, 2021. Winners will be announced on May 17, 2021.

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