Incarceration and the Family: A Review of Research and Promising Approaches for Serving Fathers and Families. 2.2 Parenting

09/01/2008

The average incarcerated father has 2.1 children. Their parenting relationships are often complex, with some men having children with multiple partners. Forty-two percent of state prisoners reported living with one or more of their minor children in the period immediately prior to their incarceration (Glaze & Maruschak, 2008).

  • The average age of children with an incarcerated parent is 8 years old (Mumola, 2000).
  • Most incarcerated fathers (88%) report that at least one of their children is in the care of the child’s other parent, compared to 37% of mothers (Glaze and Maruschak, 2008).
  • Of children with an incarcerated father, 12% live with a grandparent or other relative and 4% live in foster care or with a non-family member (Johnson, 2006).

Exhibit 2-2 shows the percentage of children of incarcerated fathers, by age.

Age Age Breakdown of Children
with Father in Prison
Exhibit 2-2.
Age Breakdown of Children
with Fathers in Prison
Less than 1 year 2.1%
1–4 years 20.4%
5–9 years 35.1%
10–14 years 28.0%
15–17 years 14.5%
Source: Mumola, C. (2000). Incarcerated parents and children.
Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report.
Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.

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