Incarceration is defined as confinement, typically within a jail or prison facility. This entry focuses primarily on children’s and family’s experiences of the incarceration of parents (fathers and/or mothers).

Worldwide Impact

Parental incarceration is a global issue, with rates of incarceration increasing in many countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Cross-national comparisons provide important and interesting insights into contextual and cultural impacts of incarceration on children and families. Joseph Murray and colleagues examined the social and political context of incarceration in England, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United States. Their research suggests that, as criminal justice policies move away from a rehabilitative emphasis to a more punitive emphasis, there are greater negative impacts on children, families, and communities. For example, children with incarcerated parents show ...

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