The Effects of Incarceration on the Family

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Introduction According to Bowen’s (2013) family systems theory, individuals in a family unit are all interconnected and the system is comprised of interlocking connections (Bowen, 2013). Consequently, whenever an individual in a family system is experiencing a stressor or problem the other individuals in the system will be affected by the stressor and will experience a change in the family system (Bowen, 2013). Bowen (2013) suggests that this family system can be used to understand the dynamics of the family unit and explains that an individual’s behavior has a specific function in his or her own family system (Bowen, 2013). By taking into consideration this theory when looking at a family struggling with an incarcerated parent, it is evident that the spouse, children, and grandparents of the family system will be impacted by the incarcerated individual’s situation. This project takes a look at the family system, which consists of married parents, children, and grandparents, and how it is affected by the incarceration of a family member. Bowen’s family systems theory suggests that whenever one of the parents are experiencing a difficulty, such as incarceration, the other members in the family system will feel the pull of this stressor and will have to adapt to the new circumstance (Bowen, 2013). Each part of this project looks at a different family member in the family system and explores the possible effects of incarceration on their own life and how the system changes to adapt to this scenario. The purpose of this particular paper is to bring to light the affects of incarceration on the grandparents in this theoretical family system and to note how they are affected as well as how their role in the system changes. The grandpa... ... middle of paper ... Services Review, 29(3), 348-362. doi: Hayslip, B.,Jr, & Kaminski, P. L. (2005). Grandparents raising their grandchildren: A review of the literature and suggestions for practice. The Gerontologist, 45(2), 262-9. Retrieved from Travis, J., McBride, E. C., Solomon, A. L. (2005, June). Families left behind: the hidden cost of incarceration and reentry. Urban Institute Justice Policy Center. Retrieved November 19, 2013, and U.S. Census Bureau. (2003, October). Grandparents Living With Grandchildren: 2000. Retrieved November 19, 2013,

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