According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of individuals incarcerated in prisons and jails in the United States had reached almost 1.6 million by the end of 2008. One in every 99 U.S residents is in a prison or jail (PewCenter, 2008). One in every 31 Americans is incarcerated or on parole/probation (PewCenter, 2008).
Approximately, 10 million children nationwide have a parent who has been incarcerated. 2.3 million of those children, or roughly one child out of every 30, currently has a parent in state or federal prison.
More than 5 million children in the U.S. have had at least one parent in prison, according to the most recent analysis of the issue, using the National Survey of Children’s Health.
The number of women incarcerated rose more than 700 percent from 26,378 in 1980 to 215,332 in 2014, according to a report from The Sentencing Project and figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
When parents are imprisoned, it is not only they who suffer, but also their offspring. The number of children affected has grown to the point that we can reasonably infer that our criminal justice system is making an important contribution to the racial achievement gap in both cognitive and non cognitive skills.
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Additional Resources and Further Reading
Annie E. Case Foundation. (2016). A shared sentence: The devastating toll of parental incarceration on kids, families and communities. [Policy Report]. Retrieved from www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf-asharedsentence-2016.pdf
Department of Justice. (2016). The federal interagency reentry council: A record of progress and a roadmap for the future. [Report]. Children of Incarcerated Parents. Retrieved from www.csgjusticecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Children of-Incarcerated-Parents.pdf
Haskins, A.R., & Jacobsen, W.C. (2017). Schools as surveillance institutions? Paternal incarceration, system avoidance, and parental involvement in schooling. American Sociological Review, 82(4), 657-684. doi: 10.1177/0003122417709294
Justice Strategies. (2011). Children on the outside: Voicing the pain and human costs of parental incarceration. [Report]. Retrieved from www.justicestrategies.org/ sites/default/ files/publications/JS-COIP-1-13-11.pdf
Martin, E. (2017). Hidden consequences: The impact of incarceration on dependent children. National Institute of Justice. Retrieved from www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/ 250349.pdf
Morsy, L. & Rothstein, R. (2016). Mass incarceration and children’s outcomes: Criminal justice policy is education policy. [Press Release]. Economic Policy Institute. Retrieved from www.epi.org/files/pdf/118615.pdf
Rutgers University. (n.d.). Children of incarcerated parents library. The National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated. Retrieved from www.nrccfi. camden.rutgers.edu/resources/library/children-of-prisoners-library/
San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership. (2005). Children of incarcerated parents: Bill of rights. Retrieved from www.docs.wixstatic.com/ ugd/73a5ec_83e372f34c154ffb99d9725a95ec1918.pdf
Sentencing Project. (n.d.). Issues. Retrieved from www.sentencingproject.org.
Shlafer, R.J., Gerrity, E., Ruhland, E., & Wheeler, M. (2013). Children with incarcerated parents: Considering children’s outcomes in the context of complex family experiences. University of Minnesota Extension. Retrieved from www.extension. umn.edu/family/ cyfc/our-programs/ereview/docs/June2013ereview.pdf
Urban Institute. (2015). Children of incarcerated parents framework document: Promising practices, challenges, and recommendations for the field. [Brief]. Research. Retrieved from www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication /53721/2000256-Children-of-Incarcerated-Parents-Framework-Document.pdf
Urban Institute. (2015). Toolkit for developing family impact statements: Children of incarcerated parents project. [Brief]. Research. Retrieved from www.urban.org/ research/ publication/toolkit-developing-family-impact-statements-children incarcerated-parents-project
Washington Defender Association. (2015). Parenting beyond bars: Preventing termination of parental rights for attorneys. [Power Point Presentation/ Handouts]. Retrieved from www.defensenet.org/ipp/incarcerated-parents rights/how-to-use-shb1284/Attorney%20tips%20%20Preventing%20Termination %20of%20Parental%20Rights%20for%20Incarcerated%20Parents%20PowerPoint. pdf/at_download/file
Wilder Foundation. (2013). Through the eyes of a child: Life with a mother in prison. National Institute of Corrections. Retrieved from www.voa.org/pdf_files/life-with a-mother-in-prison
Youth.gov. (n.d.). Children of incarcerated parents. Retrieved from www.youth.gov/ youth-topics/children-of-incarcerated-parents/tools-guides-resources
Zellerbach Family Foundation. (2016). Children, parents, and incarceration: Descriptive overview of data from Alameda and San Francisco county fails. [Report]. Retrieved from www.zff.org/knowledge-center/publications/CIP-Jail-Survey-Full-Report-FINAL-Mar-2016.pdf