Occasional series on prison reentry the growth of incarceration in the united states
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Occasional Series on Prison Reentry: The Growth of Incarceration in the United States. Children of the Prison Boom: Mass Incarceration and Childhood Wellbeing Sara Wakefield School of Criminal Justice Rutgers University [email protected] Acknowledgements and More Information.

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Occasional Series on Prison Reentry: The Growth of Incarceration in the United States

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Occasional series on prison reentry the growth of incarceration in the united states

Occasional Series on Prison Reentry: The Growth of Incarceration in the United States

Children of the Prison Boom: Mass Incarceration and Childhood Wellbeing

Sara Wakefield

School of Criminal Justice

Rutgers University

[email protected]


Acknowledgements and more information

Acknowledgements and More Information

  • Frequent Collaborator:

    • Chris Wildeman (Cornell)

  • Also see the work of Kristin Turney(UC-Irvine)

  • Annotated Bibliography of Additional Research:

    • www.johnjayresearch.org/pri


Plan of talk

Plan of talk

  • Linking Mass Incarceration and Childhood Wellbeing

  • Individual-Level Effects of Parental Incarceration on Children

  • Implications for Social Inequality and Long-Term Harm

  • Undoing the Damage


1 mass incarceration

1. Mass Incarceration

Linking Mass Incarceration and Children


What is mass incarceration

What is mass incarceration?

  • Historically novel, comparatively extreme.

  • Common life experience for the urban poor.

  • Resulting in the “systematic incarceration of whole groups.”


Occasional series on prison reentry the growth of incarceration in the united states

International Comparison of Incarceration Rates


Risk of imprisonment by age 30 34 men born 1945 49 1970 74

Risk of imprisonment by age 30-34: Men born 1945-49, 1970-74


Occasional series on prison reentry the growth of incarceration in the united states

Source: Western & Pettit, 2009


2 parental incarceration effects

2. Parental Incarceration Effects

Mental Health and Behavioral Problems, Homelessness, Infant Mortality, and Caregiver-Child Relationships


Summary of findings

Summary of Findings

  • For Fathers:

    • Global and consequential

    • Nearly always in the direction of harm for non-violent fathers

  • For Mothers

    • Variable and less consistent

    • As often protective as harmful?

  • Larger Implications

    • The Concentration of Incarceration in Families

    • Social Inequality and Race Gaps in Childhood Wellbeing


Focal outcomes

Focal Outcomes

  • Mental Health and Behavioral Problems: Allchildrenexperiencesomeofthem,andthey predicteverythingfromdropouttoteenpregnancytocrime

  • Homelessness: Goodinsight intomostmarginalizedchildren, andmassiveincreasesinblack-whitegapssince1980.

  • Infant Mortality: Consideredthebestmeasureofchildhealth,andblack-whiteinequalitieshavestubbornlyheldsteady.

  • Caregiver-Child Relationship: Possible important mechanism


Occasional series on prison reentry the growth of incarceration in the united states

Mental Health and Behavioral Problems


Occasional series on prison reentry the growth of incarceration in the united states

Aggression, Infant Mortality, and Childhood Homelessness


Occasional series on prison reentry the growth of incarceration in the united states

Positive and Negative Parenting Behaviors and Conflict Resolution

*


Occasional series on prison reentry the growth of incarceration in the united states

Physically Aggressive Behaviors by Crime Type and Abuse History


Occasional series on prison reentry the growth of incarceration in the united states

Infant Mortality


Summary of individual level findings

Summary of Individual-Level Findings

  • Paternal incarceration increases:

    • Behavioral problems

    • Physically aggressive behaviors

    • Homelessness

    • Infant mortality

    • Risk of conflict, abuse, and neglect by caregivers

  • Effects usually absent in cases of a violent father or a history of domestic abuse in the family

  • The incarceration of a non-violent father is a global harm for children


3 aggregating up harms

3. Aggregating Up Harms

The Concentration of Incarceration in Families and Social Inequality


Occasional series on prison reentry the growth of incarceration in the united states

Race Differences in the Concentration of Incarceration in Families


Occasional series on prison reentry the growth of incarceration in the united states

The Contribution of Paternal Incarceration for Racial Inequality in Childhood Wellbeing


Occasional series on prison reentry the growth of incarceration in the united states

The Contribution of Paternal Incarceration for Racial Inequality in Childhood Wellbeing


4 undoing the damage

4. Undoing the Damage

Summary and Unanswered Questions


The usual suspects

The usual suspects

  • WhenwethinkabouttheforcesthatshapewellbeingamongAmericanchildren,wetendtothinkmostly aboutthingslikeneighborhoods,schools,andfamilies.

  • The penal system ought to be added to the list.


Undoing the damage

Undoing the Damage

  • Interventions best found outside of the criminal justice system

    • Enhancing social safety net

    • Strengthening interventions in the poorest neighborhoods to reduce the damaging effects of crime and incarceration

  • *Smart* reductions in the incarceration rate

    • For children with currently incarcerated parents

    • To reduce the likelihood of the experience for children at risk for parental incarceration


Thanks for your time

Thanks for your time!

  • Questions?


Additional source material

Additional Source Material

  • Wakefield, Sara. 2014. “Accentuating the Positive or Eliminating the Negative? Father Incarceration and Caregiver-Child Relationship Quality.” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 104, 4.

  • Wakefield, Sara, and Christopher Wildeman. 2011. Mass Imprisonment and Racial Disparities in Childhood Behavioral Problems. Criminology & Public Policy10:793-817.

  • Wakefield, Sara and Christopher Wildeman. 2013. Children of the Prison Boom: Mass Incarceration and the Future of American Inequality. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Wakefield, Sara and Christopher Uggen. 2010. “Incarceration and Stratification.” Annual Review of Sociology 36: 387-406.


Isolating incarceration effects

Isolating Incarceration Effects

Future Disadvantage

Prior Disadvantage

Incarceration


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