Incarcerated Parents Essay

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How people mature into grownups is directly affected by the moments they experience as children and young adults. Most of what children learn happens at home through their parents. Estimates indicate that more than 1.3 million children in the United States have mothers who are in jail, prison, or on parole, and most affected children are less than 10 years old (Mumola as cited in; Poehlmann). That information leads into the research question, what are the effects incarcerated mothers have on their children? Do those children develop and mature just as their peers do? I hypothesize that: the offspring of incarcerated mothers are more at risk for intellectual problems than their peers. Children’s Family Environments and Intellectual Outcomes…show more content…
“Although nearly 90% of children remain with their mothers when fathers go to prison, grandparents usually care for children when mothers are incarcerated” (Johnson & Waldfogel, 2002; Snell, 1994 as cited in; Poehlmann). This shows that the family structure is more drastically upset when the mother is imprisoned versus the father. This also shows that just losing one parent while staying in the same environment is easier to self-adjust back into equilibrium than it is to fully change and integrate into another household. While the mother is in prison, the child is now in the care of someone else and where that child is, is crucial to their development. This explains that a disrupt in family structure can impact a child’s skills that are necessary to a positive development, such as reading and math skills and the ability to focus in class to learn. Emily Durkheim’s structural functionalism theory can be used to further explain this topic. A child’s family is an organism, no matter that typicality of it’s makeup. Every person has a role in the structure and when a mother is incarcerated that disrupts the system and the children are moved into a new structure, the process towards equilibrium can be tough and in some cases detrimental to their development as they are exposed to more intellectual
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