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Ice Breaker Sesame Street: Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration -- Sizzle Reel Sesame Street: Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration.

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Presentation on theme: "Ice Breaker Sesame Street: Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration -- Sizzle Reel Sesame Street: Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration."— Presentation transcript:


2 Ice Breaker Sesame Street: Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration -- Sizzle Reel Sesame Street: Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration -- Sizzle Reel Virginia Jail Holds Father-Daughter Dance For Prison

3 What do we know about Incarcerated Parents According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics 41 % of State prison inmates did not receive a high school diploma. Approximately 1 in 6 jail inmates dropped out of high school because they were convicted of a crime, sent to a correctional facility, or otherwise involved in illegal activities. Over half of all jail inmates grew up in a single-parent household or with a guardian. Over half of all jail inmates reported they had used alcohol or drugs at the time of their offense.

4 What else do we know Past wounds and unmet needs Lack of parental guidance/ Cycle of Fatherlessness Unstable support systems and unhealthy relationships Strained relationships with the mother Legal issues

5 Children of Incarcerated Parents Pew Charitable Trust Report “Collateral” Costs: Incarceration Effect on Economic Mobility (2010) 1 out of every 100 Americans are in prison. 54 % of inmates are parents with minor children (ages 0-17), including more than 120,000 mothers (62%) and 1.1 million fathers. 2.7 million children have a parent behind bars - 1 in every 28 children (3.6%) has a parent incarcerated; that’s up from 1 in 125 just 25 years ago. The average age of children with an incarcerated parent is eight years old: 22 % of the children are under the age of five. 1 in 9 African American Children (11%); 1 in 28 Hispanic children (3.5%); 1 in 57 white children (2%) have an incarcerated parent. About half of parents in the state prison provided the primary financial support for their minor child prior to incarceration. 77% of mothers in state prison who lived with their children just prior to incarceration provided most of the children’s daily care, compared to 26% of fathers

6 Possible Developmental Effects on Children of Parental Crime, Arrest, and Incarceration Developmental Stage Developmental Characteristics Developmental Tasks Influencing Factors Effects Infancy (0-2 years) Total dependency Attachment and trust Parent-child separation Impaired parent-child bonding Early childhood (2-6 years) Increased perception and mobility; incomplete individuation from parent Sense of autonomy, independence and initiative Parent-child separation; Trauma Anxiety, developmental regression, acute traumatic stress, survivor guilt Middle childhood (7-10 years) Increased independence, ability to reason, importance of peers Sense of industry, ability to work productively Parent-child separation, enduring trauma Acute traumatic stress and reactive behaviors Early adolescence (11-14 years) Increasing abstract thinking, future-oriented behavior, aggression, puberty Ability to work productively with others, control of emotions Parent-child separation, enduring trauma Rejection of limits on behavior, trauma-reactive behaviors Late adolescence (15-18 years) Emotional crisis and confusion, adult sexual development, abstract thinking, independence Achieves identity, engages in adult work and relationships, resolves conflicts with family and society Parent-child separation, enduring trauma Premature termination of parent-child relationship; intergenerational crime and incarceration

7 Challenges of Measuring Impact One major challenge confronting researchers is disentangling the effects of parental incarceration from the effects of other factors that could have existed long before incarceration, such as child maltreatment, parental use of alcohol or drugs, parental mental illness and domestic violence.

8 Risk Factor Exposure Pre-incarceration living arrangements The quality of the parent-child relationship The amount of contact children have with their incarcerated parent Children suffer economic strain and instability Children’s age, temperament, gender, and coping skills, among other factors.

9 Fatherless Homes 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes - 20 times the average (Center for Disease Control). 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes - 9 times the average (National Principals Association Report). Youths in father-absent households have significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. 75% of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes. Teenage girls without a father present are 711% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have pre-marital birth and 92% more likely to get divorced themselves.

10 Children’s Contact with Incarcerated Parents Is important in maintaining parent-child relationships and increases the likelihood of a successful reunification after release. Score higher on measures of well-being, IQ, emotional adjustment, and behavioral measures. In addition, frequent visitation means the child is less likely to experience feelings of abandonment. Several studies found that maintenance of family ties during incarceration is linked to post-release success, defined as lower rates of recidivism. Visiting can calm children’s fears about their parents welfare as well as their concerns about the parent’s feelings for them. Regular contact, preferably visitation with a child is critical. Courts are less likely to terminate the rights of a parent who can demonstrate ongoing positive contact with a child and involvement in his or her life.

11 Barriers to Visitation Correction Policies Facilities are not child-friendly Parent-Caregiver relationships Child welfare policy and practice

12 Supporting Children of Incarcerated Parents Arrest Phase Sentencing Phase Placement/Intake Phase Incarceration Phase

13 Programming for Incarcerated Parents Visitation Programs Co-detention: Raising Children in prison Alternative to incarceration Programs for children of Incarcerated parents Parental Re-entry: The Implication for Children






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