Parental Incarceration Case Study

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What is the nature and scope of the problem?

The incarceration of a loved one can be devastating for families. Children may experience a tremendous amount of difficulty with this reality. Not to mention the stress imposed on the new caregivers. A whopping two million of America 's children have at least one parent in prison (Miller, Perryman, Markovitz, Franzen, Cochran, & Brown 2013). From 1991 to 2007 the number of children under the age of 18 with a mother in prison doubled, this led to an increase number of children residing with alternate caregivers, ie; grandparent, sister, or brother. Children with incarcerated parents are often called the “forgotten victims” of crime. This population often goes unnoticed as if they are hidden victims
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Mothers are usually the primary caretaker and if the mother is imprisoned the risk of trauma is greater than if a father were to be incarcerated. The main challenge researchers face with this severely understudied population is that it hard to decipher the effects of parental incarceration from the effects of other factors that could have existed long before incarceration.

There is a need for replication of studies to test how strongly parental imprisonment, and adverse child outcomes are associated. The studies should be conducted using prospective longitudinal designs, with representative samples , control group, and reliable and valid measures of key constructs. Child outcomes such as gang membership, physical illness, and mortality may be researched more using that format. Also, there is a great need for better research on certain mechanisms that links parental imprisonment and child outcomes. Some qualitative research many possible pathways but still lack systematic test of these mechanism. Longitudinal research should be used to measure child adjustment and hypothesized before, during, and after parental

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