Findings from the Surveys of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities and the National Prisoners Statistics program construct a basic picture of the characteristics of fathers incarcerated in U.S. prisons. Far less is known about fathers in the jail population, however. Given the large number of inmates held in local jails (780,581 as of midyear 2007), preliminary research on their fatherhood status and other characteristics is warranted (BJS, 2008).
The relationships of incarcerated and recently-released men and their current and past partners, are also not well documented. Regional findings from the Returning Home project represent a step toward generating a more complete picture of the family lives of these men, but national research is needed on fathers’ relationships and living arrangements prior to, during and after incarceration. In addition, information about these men’s attitudes toward, and concerns about, their romantic and parenting relationships is crucial for understanding the needs of these fathers and their families.