This text explores the impact of parental incarceration on offender parents, children, and caregivers, reasons for the widespread incarceration of parents, and the intended and unintended consequences of the imprisonment of offenders. It begins with background information on the incarceration rate of the United States, the use of a family perspective to explore the impact of parental incarceration, the use of ecological theory and developmental contextualism to examine parental incarceration, and elements of a context-process-outcome framework. Chapter 2 discusses context and processes associated with incarcerated parenting, and Chapter 3 delves into the impact of maternal incarceration. The steep rise in female prisoners is noted, as well as trends in drug use, intergenerational cycles of pain, and challenges mothers have in re-entry. Chapter 4 focuses on paternal incarceration and provides a profile of incarcerated fathers and discusses father involvement behind walls. The pivotal challenges of coparenting and relational conflict are explored, and implications of father-child ties for re-entry are considered. The following chapter addresses the effects of incarceration on families and children, including feelings of loss and disenfranchised grief, traumatic separation, economic decline, and weakened parenting quality and stability. The book concludes with recommendations for addressing parental incarceration based on a pyramid of principles that call for policies that advance social justice, do no harm, and promote human development. Case examples are provided throughout the text. Numerous references.
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