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December 1, 2012

"More Children Growing Up With Parents Behind Bars"

Prisongraph(1)The title of this post is the headline of this recent ABC News/Univision piece. Here are excerpts:

The number of children with parents behind bars in the United States is growing. And a Latino child is more than twice as likely to have an incarcerated parent as a white child.

An infographic created by sociologist Becky Pettit in her new book, Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress illustrates a five-fold increase in the number of children with parents behind bars from 1980 to 2005.

While interpreting the graph, it's important to keep in mind that the Hispanic population has grown much faster than the white and black populations since 1980, meaning there are simply more Latino children and parents in the U.S. However, taken as a percentage, Latino children are still more much more likely than white children to grow up with their parents behind bars. One in 42 Latino children has a parent in prison, compared to 1 in 111 white children, according to a 2009 report from The Sentencing Project, a research and advocacy group, which used data from the U.S. Department of Justice. And, when it comes to black children, one in 15 have a parent in prison....

One in every one hundred adults in the U.S. is behind bars, and more than two-thirds are non-white, according to a 2008 Pew study. The Sentencing Project report found that children who grow up with parents in prison are more likely to "drop out of school, engage in delinquency, and subsequently be incarcerated themselves."

December 1, 2012 at 06:49 PM | Permalink


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In this one sided study, with a thinly disguised hug a thug agenda, something is missing.

The tremendous benefit of having a criminal, addicted parent away, and in stir.

The child does not get directly abused.

The child can grow up in the culture of the grandparents' family, i.e. morality based upbringing.

The child does not get recruited into the family business.

The child does not imitate prisoner, criminal lifestyle and ways of acting, such as holding his Nine sideways, and saying "mother fucker" every other word, as his black father says. And yes the rules do apply to you also, his foster parents will teach the child.

If children of prisoners grow up with more social pathologies, that reflects the biological transmission of a tendency toward criminality. Growing up with the parent in the home and not in jail, will make the rates of social pathologies shoot up, and cancel all effects at intervention.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 1, 2012 11:59:26 PM

I wonder how many of these parents were (1) married and/or (2) engaged in any actual parenting, such as living at home with the kid, maintaining financial support with a steady job, providing loving discipline, helping with homework, reading to and with him, encouraging the kid in sports or other wholesome activities, taking him to the park, zoo, museum, etc.

My guess is precious few, and that these "parents" who are missing because they're in jail were missing long before jail ever happened. But if anyone has actual figures on this, I like to see them.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 2, 2012 2:48:21 PM

Ultimately, isn't the answer, "So what?" I agree that at the margins, perhaps some incarceration policy could be changed, but the fault for parents being incarcerated is that of the parents.

Posted by: federalist | Dec 2, 2012 2:56:56 PM

Have any of you ever thought about how many people go to prison that are not thugs? They are in prison because of no mens rea needed to convict as in our case. A good husband and father now dead because he got poor medical treatment. In prison because a DI investigator fabricated evidence, and a defense attorney who was worthless. Stay up there on your high horse and be judgmental. I know you have been exposed to the many bad things people do, but that is not always the case. Keep an open mind please.

Posted by: widow | Dec 2, 2012 4:09:09 PM

Widow: Please, tell us your story. I am not being sarcastic. I would like to hear more about it.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 2, 2012 5:07:10 PM

widow --

1. Please identify any sentence in my post that is "judgmental."

2. Then please answer the question posed, if you have the information.

The implication of the story posted about here is that children are deprived of parenting because of the incarceration of a parent. But if there was little or no parenting going on before then, the implication is false. It is therefore imporatant to know in how many of these cases there was, and was not, actual parenting going on before the criminal was sent to prison. Do you disagree with that?

As to your own case, no one can make an intelligent assessment from a seven-sentence, zero-details, anonymous summary given by a self-described interested party. It simply cannot be done.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 2, 2012 6:00:07 PM

Bill -

Please identify anything you've EVER posted here that wasn't judgmental.

Posted by: Brian G. | Dec 2, 2012 7:32:37 PM

Brian G. --

I'd have to go some to outdo the judgmentalism of claudio, peter, and some of the other anti-DP freaks who routinely demean the opposition as barbarian, Nazi, immoral, etc.

Have you ever taken exception to that? Where?

To answer you directly: My question in the second post of this thread about whether anyone could supply the figures as to how many prisoners were married, and/or had provided basic parenting to their offspring prior to their incarceration, is a request for information, not a judgment.

Finally, if a point be made of it, "judgmentalism" simply describes the state of mind of a person prone to making judgments. Of course every sensate person makes dozens if not hundreds of judgments every day, including moral and value judgments, so if you're waiting for me to apologize for being "judgmental," you'll be waiting a long time.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 2, 2012 8:25:28 PM

/ "One in 42 Latino children has a parent in prison, compared to 1 in 111 white children" \

Aren't Latinos white, like George Zimmerman?

One in 10 (less than) illegal aliens are Whites, "compared to" 8 in 10 illegal aliens are Latinos.

Why are 80-90% of illegals Latino and nearly 70% Mexican, but so few English speakers, and so few Canadian?

10/27/11 azstarnet.com/...illegal-immigrants-from-latin-american.../

Posted by: Adamakis | Dec 3, 2012 1:13:46 PM

My story is way to complicated to go into here. I just wanted to point out that there are a lot of good people in prison that ended up there by fate. I learned one thing out of all of this, and that is you can not fight the federal government. If you are accused you are doomed. Case CLOSED.

Posted by: widow | Dec 3, 2012 3:42:29 PM

@ Federal Charges Dropped Against LSU Bomb Threat Suspect ...
@ Charges dropped against fugitive doctor, because evidence is using ...
@ Watertown Daily Times | Federal charges dropped against man who ...Oct 9, 2012 ... Federal prosecutors on Thursday dropped weapon charges

@ Federal charges dropped in Greenville bank robbery | MLive.com www.mlive.com/news/.../federal_charges_dropped _in_gre.html - CachedOct 17, 2012 ... GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The government has dropped charges against Reuben
Olson III, the suspect in a November holdup at Huntington Bank

@ Federal charges dropped against John Edwards
@ U.S. District Judge James Moody has dismissed federal charges against Cortnee Brantley.

Posted by: Adamakis | Dec 4, 2012 9:04:27 AM

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