1st Edition

Parental Incarceration Personal Accounts and Developmental Impact

Edited By Denise Johnston, Megan Sullivan Copyright 2016
    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    Parental Incarceration makes available personal stories by adults who have had the childhood experience of parental incarceration. These stories help readers better understand the complex circumstances that influence these children’s health and development, as well as their high risk for intergenerational crime and incarceration. Denise Johnston examines her own children’s experience of her incarceration within the context of what the research and her 30 years of practice with prisoners and their children has taught her, arguing that it is imperative to attempt to understand parental incarceration within a developmental framework. Megan Sullivan, a scholar in the Humanities, examines the effects of her father’s incarceration on her family, and underscores the importance of the reentry process for families.

    The number of arrested, jailed, and imprisoned persons in the United States has increased since 1960, most dramatically between 1985 and 2000. As the majority of these incarcerated persons are parents, the number of minor children with an incarcerated parent has increased alongside, peaking at an estimated 2.9 million in 2006. The impact of the experience of parental incarceration has garnered attention by researchers, but to date attention has been focused on the period when parents are actually in jail or prison. This work goes beyond that to examine the developmental impact of children’s experiences that extend long beyond that timeframe. A valuable resource for students in corrections, human services, social work, counseling, and related courses, as well as practitioners, program/agency administrators, policymakers, advocates, and others involved with families of the incarcerated, this book is testimony that the consequences of mass incarceration reach far beyond just the offender.

    1. RELATIONSHIPS: An Overview of Relationships Among Children of Incarcerated Parents, 2. SAFETY & PROTECTION: An Overview of Safety & Protection Among Children of Incarcerated Parents, 3. CARE & GUIDANCE: An Overview of Care & Guidance Among Children of Incarcerated Parents, 4. PARENTAL ARREST, INCARCERATION & REENTRY: An Overview of Parental Crime, Arrest, Incarceration & Reentry


    Denise Johnston is the director of Families & Criminal Justice, the successor agency to the Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents. A child development specialist, she has developed and directed educational, therapeutic, family support, and advocacy services for more than 25,000 families of justice-involved parents since 1988. Dr. Johnston has authored numerous publications for families and for professionals, and edited Children of Incarcerated Parents, the first comprehensive North American text on this subject.

    Megan Sullivan is the author of Women in Northern Ireland: Cultural Studies and Material Conditions (University Press of Florida, 1999), Irish Women and Cinema: 1980-1990 (NOVA Southeastern University, 2001), and many essays and articles. Her essay "My Father’s Prison" was awarded the Anthony Prize in Prose from Between the Lines Literary Journal. She co-edited "Children of Incarcerated Parents" for S&F Online. She is Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development and Associate Professor of Rhetoric at Boston University, and serves as the Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning.

    Parental Incarceration: Personal Accounts and Developmental Impact fills a major gap in the research in that it is the first text of its kind to explore the impact of parental incarceration on children within a developmental framework. It enhances the literature and provides an opportunity for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to better understand and garner unique insights into the lived experiences of adult women and men whose stories of parental involvement in the criminal justice system have often been ignored in studies of crime, punishment, and mass incarceration. This is a must-read for all those looking to improve outcomes for the children of incarcerated parents.

    - Barbara E. Bloom, Sonoma State University