Prison Kids

The Growing Number of Kids in the US with Parents in Prisons & Jails

The number of kids with parents in prisons & jails in the US continues to be on the increase, and this development is becoming worrisome to all concerned.

In fact, the demographics of kids with incarcerated parents are alarming (PDF) – raising the need to get some questions answered.

The children of parents in prison subjects of interests to families and the government, making it necessary to answer some questions about them.

How Many Children In the US Parents in Prisons & Jails?

Various statistics exist for the number of children with imprisoned parents in the US:

Demographics: Who Are the Children of Incarcerated Parents?
Demographics: Who Are the Children of Incarcerated Parents?
Child Trends reports on the growing number of kids in America with parents in prisons & jails.
Child Trends reports on the growing number of kids in America with parents in prisons & jails.

Child Trends, a Maryland-based research center released a report in 2015 stating that one out of every 14 American children has a parent currently in jail or who had spend time in prison.

The report added that over five million children in the US have witnessed their parents going to jail.

The same study disclosed that black parents tend to go to jail more than white parents.

What this means is that a black child is twice as likely to have a parent that will go to jail – with 14% of black kids having had their parents incarcerated one time or the other.

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According to the Christian, an average of one out of every 110 white children has a parent in prison, while one out of every 15 black kids has a parent in jail, with one out of every 41 Hispanic kids having one or more parents in prisons & jails.

Does Having An Incarcerated Parent Mean A Child Will Eventually Go To Prison?

What Will Happen to Me? Thoughts and stories of real life prison kids.
What Will Happen to Me? Thoughts and stories of real life prison kids. Click here to order now.

There is no evidence to conclude that having an incarcerated parent will cause a child to also end up in prison. But it is never out of the question and it remains a significant possibility.

Ann Adalist-Estrin, director of the National Resource Center of Children and Families of the Incarcerated in Philadelphia states that,

“Without adequate research, we cannot say they are more likely to go to prison or jail.”

But another research conducted by the Central Connecticut State University avers that children with incarcerated parents are three times more likely to be involved with the law than children without any incarcerated parents.

This may be truer with black children who have parents in prisons & jails. Read (Effects of Children of Prisoners)

Should All Children Ultimately Be Reunited With Their Parents?

Considering the fact that children of incarcerated parents experience a lot of emotional and psychological trauma, it is good that children always visit their parents in prison.

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But being re-united with a parent recently released from prison is another debate, since facts have emerged that parents who had been to prison tend to be harsher and also maltreat their kids.

You can read more Q&A about kids with incarcerated parents.

While the prison system had transformed some parents and made them better parents, others tend to be more vitriolic and harsher. Overall, experts agree parents must earn the right and respect of the child to justify reunion.

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What can be done after the parents’ release to successfully reunite them with their prison kids?

Share your thoughts about the effects of kids having parents in prisons & jails.

Charles Omedo
Charles Omedo has a degree in Mass Communication and a PGD in Digital Communication. He worked as a newspaper/magazine reporter and editor for many years. Now, he writes daily news articles for private clients. Charles has written for US/UK/Canadian/Indian clients on various niches. He currently writes prison news for loved ones of inmates on the Prison Rideshare Network.