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NCJ Number: 205855 Find in a Library
Title: From One Generation to the Next: How Criminal Sanctions are Reshaping Family Life in Urban America (From Prisoners Once Removed: The Impact of Incarceration and Reentry on Children, Families, and Communities, P 157-188, 2003, Jeremy Travis and Michelle Waul, eds. -- See NCJ-205850)
Author(s): Donald Braman; Jenifer Wood
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 32
Sponsoring Agency: Urban Institute Press
Washington, DC 20037
Sale Source: Urban Institute Press
2100 M Street., NW
Washington, DC 20037
United States of America
Type: Case Study
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter discusses findings from a 3-year ethnographic study of families of male prisoners in Washington, DC, and analyzes the accounts of some of the families to determine how incarceration and reentry are reshaping family life.
Abstract: This examination of the problems families face when a young father is incarcerated shows that the material and social lives of families are significantly changed. Family income and social support for children diminishes, and the family must develop mechanisms for coping with their changed economic and social status. The stories of families with an incarcerated father demonstrate how their material welfare, structure, and mental health have been detrimentally affected by the incarceration, with particularly significant consequences for the children. These problems are not immediately or even necessarily remedied when the incarcerated father returns home after release. Family members, the structure of the family, and the returning father have been changed significantly by the incarceration, so the reunion is a period of adjustment whose outcome depends on many factors. Following reentry, many ex-inmates are not prepared to assume the role of a financial provider, caregiver, and relationship partner. They must not only find a place in the community through employment and law-abiding behavior, they must also adjust to changes in the attitudes and behaviors of family members, notably their children. Generally, the mass incarceration of young fathers is distorting family life and undermining the welfare of children in many minority and low-income communities. As family life is undermined in inner cities, poor and minority families increasingly reflect the stereotypes that have informed the criminal justice policies that have imprisoned so many young men and women. Criminogenic conditions fostered in families and communities by massive incarcerations perpetuate the very conditions that spawn young criminals. When incarceration is a necessary response to crimes committed, prison regimes should provide drug treatment, parenting classes, job training, and prerelease programs that prepare inmates for positive adjustment in the community. Until the time when corrections policies take into account the adverse consequences of imprisonment for offenders and their families, it is imperative that the correctional system do everything possible to help inmates and their families maintain their bonds during incarceration and also prepare inmates and their families for a constructive reunion and life together after release. 17 notes and 36 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Children of incarcerated offenders; District of Columbia; Families of Prisoners/Inmate Families; Juvenile delinquency factors; Parent-Child Relations; Post-release programs; Prerelease programs; Reentry; Urban area studies; Urban criminality
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