Parental Incarceration

Parental Incarceration

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“Parental incarceration affects a large number of children” (La Vigne, Davies &

Brazzell, 2008, p.i). “Most of {which} are young, low income, black or Hispanic” (La

Vigne et al 2008). The number of children under the age of eighteen, with parents in

U.S. prisons, State and Federal, is rapidly increasing as a result of incarceration being

used as a criminal penalty (Waldman & Hercik, 2002). Children whose parents are

incarcerated, constitute one of the largest at-risk population in the U.S. (Mumola, 2000).

In addition, they are more vulnerable to economic stress and adverse interpersonal issues

such as lack trust, shame, instability in family relationship, school behavior and academic

performance or fear of getting close to anyone. “The enormous rise in the number of

{individuals} behind bars, especially women, has brought this issue to prominence”.

(Krisberg and Temin, 2001).

Incarceration impacts on family function and unity. The challenges posed to

children and families of the incarcerated individual are significant. Not only are the

children faced with the trauma of loss, they are also faced with a myriad of other

challenges both in the economic and social realm. For imprisoned mothers,

separation from their children is considered one of the greatest punishments imposed by

incarceration. As the number of children whose parents are incarcerated increases, so do

their needs.

Children of prisoners have an overwhelming amount of needs. These needs

varies from having a safe and stable environment to having an appropriate caretaker to

care for them in the absence of their parent(s). As well as everything a parent is required

to provide for them. For example, the basic necessities such as food, clothing,

appropriate sleeping arrangements, supervision, education and medical care (Casework

Practice Guide, 125). Additionally, they themselves identify a vast amount of less

tangible, but equally compelling needs.

When parents are incarcerated, “what happens” to the children becomes a major

concerns. Prior to incarceration, “children are more likely to live with their mothers

rather than their fathers” (Mumola, 2000 as cited in Krisberg and Temin, 2001).

Works Cited
Krisberg, B. A. & Temin, C. E. (2001). The plight of children whose parents are in prison. National Council on Crime Delinquency. Available:F:\USERS\Everyone\WEBSITE ARTICLES\Children of Incarcerated Parents Newsletter.wpd

Mumola, C.

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Related Searches

J. (2000). Incarcerated Parents and Their Children. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, NCJ 182335. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Children Services Casework Practice Guide: Division of child protective services. CDHS/Research Foundation of SUNY/BSC 2008.

La Vigne, N. G., Davis, E., & Brazzell, D. (2008). Broken Bonds. Understanding and addressing the needs of children with incarcerated parents.

Bouchet, S. M. (2008). Children and Families with Incarcerated Parents. Exploring development in the field and opportunities for growth. The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Waldman, N & Herick, J. M (2002). Promoting Responsible Fatherhood: Uniting parents and their families. Available:

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