“Incarceration affects also the well-being of the incarcerated’s family members,” Allen said. “This is especially true of children, whose health could be adversely affected by unhealthy stress-coping behaviors that the incarcerated persons’ partners often choose — smoking and drinking, for example.”
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More than half of federal and state prisoners are parents of nearly 1.5 million minor children, and one-fifth of prisoners have children under the age of five. Children of incarcerated parents are more likely to have witnessed criminal activity and/or the arrest of the parent, both of which have been shown by researchers to have unique effects undermining children’s socio-emotional and behavioral adjustment.
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“The long-term impact of parental incarceration has been best documented among boys,” said Tuppett Yates, an associate professor of psychology at UC Riverside. “Compared both to boys who had not experienced parental absence and to boys whose fathers were absent due to hospitalization, divorce, death, or other reasons, boys who experienced parental incarceration before age 10 reported more co-occurring internalizing and anti-social problems at ages 18, 32, and 48, more delinquent behavior at age 32, and were more likely to have been convicted of a crime by age 25. Likewise, among both boys and girls, parental incarceration has been associated with concurrent social and academic problems, and prospective substance abuse.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story told from the point of view of a child whose parent is incarcerated.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the importance of your parents in your life.

Art Prompt: Incarceration’s effect on the family

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about how incarceration affects society through the effects on the family.

Photo Credit: William Gantz on Flickr

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