More than 5 million U.S. children have had a parent in jail or prison at some point in their lives. The incarceration of a parent can have as much impact on a child’s well-being as abuse or domestic violence. But while states spend heavily on corrections, few resources exist to support those left behind. A Shared Sentence offers commonsense proposals to address the increased poverty and stress that children of incarcerated parents experience.

April 18, 2016

KIDS COUNT Policy Reports

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    How children of the incarcerated face unique challenges and stresses.

  2. 2

    How incarceration destabilizes families, particularly those teetering on the edge of financial disaster.

  3. 3

    Strategies to connect parents who have returned to the community with pathways to employment.

  4. 4

    How communities with a sizable portion of residents behind bars are economically burdened and, therefore, lack resources to support families appropriately.

  1. 5

    The disproportionate impact of incarceration on children and families of color.

  2. 6

    Promising practices across the country that are supporting children and families during and after incarceration.

Key Takeaway

Children Who Have Experienced Parental Incarceration: 2011-2012

Nationally, the number of kids who have had a parent in jail or prison at some point in their childhood hovers around 5.1 million — a conservative estimate. Kids with incarcerated parents are significantly less likely to live in neighborhoods that are able to be supportive of families.

Findings & Stats