The United States incarcerates more people than any othercountry in the world, and over half of the 2.3 million inmatesare parents of children under age 18. One in 28 children inthe United States has a parent behind bars, and even morewill have an incarcerated parent at some time during theirchildhood. Children with incarcerated parents are morelikely to exhibit trauma symptoms than other children, andthey are at an increased risk of developing problematicoutcomes including behavior problems, substance abuse,academic difficulties, criminal activity, and physical andmental health conditions. Having contact with incarceratedparents through visits, phone calls, and letters has longbeen considered important for family well-being during andfollowing incarceration, yet few researchers, practitioners,or policymakers have considered this issue from the child’sperspective. Recent research has shown that the link betweenparental incarceration and trauma symptoms can be mediatedthrough the quality of parental-visitation experiences. (Author abstract)
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