Incarcerated Parents and Their Children.

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Mumola, C. J.
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This report is the latest in a series based on the 1997 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities. Results of the survey show that in 1999 state and federal prisons held an estimated 721,500 parents of minor children. A majority of state (55 percent) and federal (63 percent) prisoners reported having a child under the age of 18. Forty-six percent of the parents reported living with their children prior to incarceration. The survey estimates that 336,300 U.S. households with minor children are affected by the imprisonment of a resident parent. The parents reported having about 1,498,000 minor children in 1999, an increase of more than 500,000 since 1991. Of the nation's 72 million minor children, 2.1 percent had a parent in state or federal prison in 1999. A majority of parents in state prison were violent offenders (44 percent) or drug traffickers (13 percent) and 77 percent had a prior conviction. Nearly 60 percent of parents in state prison reported using drugs in the month before their arrest, and 25 percent reported a history of alcohol dependence. About 14 percent of parents reported a mental illness, and 70 percent did not have a high school diploma. Thirteen tables; 2 appendixes.

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