The Effect of Incarceration on the Family

Powerful Essays
Topics: Family, Prison
From Prison to Home:
The Effect of Incarceration and Reentry on Children, Families, and Communities
Prisoners and Families:
Parenting Issues During Incarceration
Creasie Finney Hairston, PhD
Jane Addams College of Social Work
University of Illinois at Chicago
December 2001
[ Project Home Page | List of Conference Papers ]
Contents
* The Importance of Family Matters * Family Definitions * Financial Difficulties * Parent-child Relationships and Children’s Care * Emotional and Social Issues * Information Needs * Prisoner-Family Communication * Pitching in and Helping * Policy Directions and Strategies * Conclusions * References
The preservation and strengthening of families has a longstanding history as a United States public policy priority and as a major objective of governmental agencies and not for profit service organizations. Social welfare policies and programs that help families protect, nurture and care for their children and adult family members are recognized by the nation’s political leaders as a social investment and many formal and informal efforts are directed toward that end. Notwithstanding the millions of families affected by incarceration on any given day, the well being of prisoners’ families and children has not been an important part of this social policy agenda. Similarly, services and activities that assist prisoners in carrying out family roles and responsibilities have seldom been included in the strategic plans of social services agencies or corrections departments.
Several recent developments are challenging the historical treatment of prisoners’ families in public policy discourse and decision making. Among these factors are a United States correctional population numbering over two million and growing, unprecedented increases in the number of women prisoners, disproportionate numbers of imprisoned African American males, high recidivism rates, and the community



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