Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Dads in jail

I'm reading an article by Michael E. Roettger and Raymond R. Swisher which contains some scary stats about Dads in jail:

'Unprecedented growth of the US prison population has led to a large number of incarcerated fathers. In 2007, US state and federal prisons contained 766,000 fathers of 1.55 million children; a 90% increase since 1991. According to data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, nearly 13% of young adults report that their biological fathers have ever been incarcerated…
As in the case of incarceration, minority children are disproportionately affected… by adolescence, 24% of African-American children have experienced a biological father's incarceration, compared to 4% of Whites.'

Now the authors admit that in some cases, particularly those involving extreme criminality or domestic violence, father's incarceration 'may represent a relief of stressors within the family, leading to positive outcomes for children… But in many cases, incarcerated fathers remain potentially important within the lives of children.'

Unfortunately most of the article is behind a paywall so I don't know what conclusions the authors reach and what their recommendations are for ensuring such fathers still play a role if and when it is desirable to do so. The authors do say that 'At five to ten times the rate of other developed nations and lacking a criminal justice system focusing on rehabilitation, issues surrounding father incarceration remain somewhat unique to the United States.' But it would be very interesting to hear the views and experiences of any experts or Dads here in the UK.

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