Children of Incarcerated Parents, a Shared Sentence

The Devastating Toll of Parental Incarceration on Kids, Families and Communities

Posted April 19, 2016
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
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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 parental incarceration. A Shared Sentence offers commonsense proposals to address the increased poverty and stress that children of incarcerated parents experience.

Findings & Parental Incarceration Stats

Key Parental Incarceration 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. Children with incarcerated parents are significantly less likely to live in neighborhoods that are able to be supportive of families.