Socioeconomic Barriers to Child Contact with Incarcerated Parents.

Publication Year: 
2019
Personal Author: 
Rubenstein, Batya Y. Toman, Elisa L. Cochran, Joshua C.
Type of Resource: 
Journal Article
Abstract: 

Scholarship suggests that prison visitation is beneficial and may be especially so for children and their incarcerated parents. However, economically disadvantaged families face unique challenges during incarceration, which may include greater difficulties visiting incarcerated family members. This study uses survey data from a nationally representative sample of state prison inmates to explore how economic disadvantage impacts children visiting their parents in prison. Analyses suggest that lower income parents are less likely to be visited by their children. Results are similar for fathers and mothers. We also find that economic disadvantage may condition impacts of other practical barriers, such as distance from home. Our findings have important implications for understanding challenges families face maintaining ties during incarceration and, more broadly, illuminate a critical pathway through which incarceration may be especially disadvantageous for already disadvantaged populations. Additional conclusions for theory, research, and policy are discussed. (Author abstract)