Incarceration in the United States
- All Alone in the World byISBN: 1565849523Publication Date: 2005-10-20One in ten American children has a parent under criminal justice supervision right now - incarcerated, on probation, or on parole. One in thirty-three American children goes to sleep without access to a parent because that parent is in jail. Despite these staggering numbers, the children of prisoners remain largely invisible to society. Following in the tradition of the bestseller Random Family, journalist Nell Bernstein shows, through the deeply moving stories of real families, how the children of the incarcerated are routinely punished for their parents' status; ignored, neglected, stigmatized, and endangered, with minimal effort made to help them cope. Topics range from children's experiences at the time of their parent's arrest, to laws and politics that force even low-level offenders to forfeit their parental rights, to alternative sanctions that take into account prisoners' status as mothers and fathers. All Alone in the World defines a crucial aspect of criminal justice and, in doing so, illuminates a critical new realm of human rights.
- Children of the Prison Boom byISBN: 9780199989225Publication Date: 2013-12-05An unrelenting prison boom, marked by racial disparities, characterized the latter third of the twentieth century. Drawing upon broadly representative survey data and qualitative interviews, Children of the Prison Boom describes the devastating effects of America's experiment in massincarceration for a generation of vulnerable children.Parental imprisonment has transformed from an event affecting only the unluckiest of children - children of parents whose involvement in crime would have been quite serious - to one that is remarkably common, especially for black children. Even for high-risk youth, Children of the Prison Boom showsthat paternal incarceration makes a bad situation worse, increasing mental health and behavioral problems, infant mortality, and child homelessness. These findings have broad implications for social inequality. Contrary to a great deal of research on the consequences of mass incarceration forinequality among adult men, these harms to children translate into large-scale increases in racial inequalities at the aggregate level. Parental imprisonment has become a distinctively American force for promoting intergenerational social inequality that should be placed alongside a decaying urbanpublic school system and highly concentrated disadvantaged populations in urban centers as factors that distinctively touch - and disadvantage - poor black children.More troubling, even if incarceration rates were reduced dramatically in the near future, the long-term harms of incarcerating marginalized men have yet to be fully revealed. Optimism about current reductions in the imprisonment rate and the resilience of children must therefore be set against thebackdrop of the children of the prison boom-a lost generation now coming of age.