Focus on Children with Incarcerated Parents

An Overview of the Research Literature

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

October 1, 2007


How parental incarceration affects kids, caregivers and prisoners themselves is just beginning to get studied, and the effects aren’t good.  While research is scarce, the results are very consistent.  From parental profiles to keeping in touch to prison policies, they all play a part in future family bonding.  

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

86% of prisoners’ kids were under age 10.

Over 1.5 million children in the United States have a parent in prison.

Findings & Stats

Trauma Time

Incarceration of a parent can be a potentially traumatic event for children.

Family Rifts

Prison time can lead to family rifts that do not heal. 

Reconnecting Relationships

Social stigma and institutional policies and practices make it difficult for parents to reconnect with their kids. 

Statements & Quotations