Statistics Concerning Children of Prisoners

  • There are more than 2.7 million children in the United States with an incarcerated parent (The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2010. Collateral Costs: Incarceration's Effect on Economic Mobility, Washington: The Pew Charitable Trusts).

  • One in 28 (2.3 percent) American children has a parent incarcerated in state or federal prison (Sentencing Project/Research and Advocacy for Reform, February 2009).

  • Having an incarcerated parent often results in school behavior and performance problems as well as social and institutional stigma and shame (Vulnerability of Children of Incarcerated Addict Mothers: Implications for Preventive Intervention, Children and Youth Services Review, 2005).

  • In addition to lowering the likelihood of recidivism among incarcerated parents, there is evidence that maintaining the child-parent relationship while a parent is incarcerated improves a child’s emotional response to the incarceration and encourages parent-child attachment (Examining the Effect of Incarceration and In-Prison Family Contact on Prisoners’ Family Relationships, Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 2005).

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