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.


Bicyclist Building Bridges

We help children  Visit their incarcerated parent At No Cost To The Family

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
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 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  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  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
Rutgers University. (n.d.). Children of incarcerated parents library. The National Resource  Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated. Retrieved from www.nrccfi. 
San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership. (2005). Children of  incarcerated parents: Bill of rights. Retrieved from  ugd/73a5ec_83e372f34c154ffb99d9725a95ec1918.pdf
Sentencing Project. (n.d.). Issues. Retrieved from
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. 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  /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  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 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 a-mother-in-prison (n.d.). Children of incarcerated parents. Retrieved from  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