Thanks to Mike at Corr Sentencing for this interesting article about how multigenerational crime may be even more prevalent than we imagined.
Obsessed with the lore of the outlaw James Gang, James "Tokie" Caston decided that his first two boys would bear the names of his heroes: Jesse and Frank James. By the time the third son, Sonny, arrived in 1967, the boys' futures were clear. At an early age, Frank Caston recalls, most people in tiny Lake Providence, La., referred to the brothers not as the Castons, but as the "James Gang."
"To be named after the worst outlaw in the country, I think you put a stamp on a person," says Jesse James Caston, 42, who was on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list in 2000. "We never had a chance."
Their names were symbolic of a troubled upbringing that Jesse and Frank Caston say was marked by abuse and neglect. Today, all three brothers are convicted killers serving life sentences at Louisiana's state prison.
Their story is extraordinary but emblematic of what social scientists and law enforcement officials see as an increasingly complex and persistent problem: people who become criminals in part because of the influence of family members.
Nearly half of the 2 million inmates in state prisons across the USA — 48% — say they have relatives who also have been incarcerated, according to a Justice Department report in 2004, the most recent comprehensive survey of state prison populations.The portion of those reporting the detention of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, spouses and children has kept pace with the national prison population as it has increased during the past decade. In 1997, 48% of state prisoners also reported that family members had been to prison, according to a Justice Department analysis for USA TODAY based on previous inmate surveys