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Children of Offenders

Children of offenders incur a host of disadvantages as a result of a parent’s criminal behavior and criminal justice involvement. Of particular concern to researchers and policy makers are children whose parent’s criminal behavior has resulted in incarceration. A growing body of work identifies parental incarceration as a leading contributor to social and economic inequality. This is because parental incarceration affects children in ways that adversely affect children’s life course trajectories. This entry focuses on the short- and long-term implications of parental incarceration on issues related to children’s welfare such as behavior, mental health, educational outcomes, and economic well-being.

Children of Offenders in the United States

In the United States, most incarcerees are parents. Surveys of prison inmates reveal that approximately 52% of state inmates and 63% ...

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