skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 235690 Find in a Library
Title: Mass Imprisonment and Racial Disparities in Childhood Behavioral Problems
Journal: Criminology & Public Policy  Volume:10  Issue:3  Dated:August 2011  Pages:793-817
Author(s): Sara Wakefield; Christopher Wildeman
Date Published: August 2011
Page Count: 25
Sponsoring Agency: Russell Sage Foundation
New York, NY 10065
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using data from three existing datasets, this article explores whether mass imprisonment affects racial disparities found in measures of childhood well-being.
Abstract: Analysis of the datasets resulted in three major findings regarding the influence of mass imprisonment on racial disparities found in measures of childhood well-being: 1) the average effect of paternal incarceration on children is harmful, not helpful, and consistently in the direction of more mental health and behavioral problems; 2) the rapid increase in the use of imprisonment coupled with significant racial disparities in the likelihood of paternal (and maternal) imprisonment are linked to large racial disparities in childhood mental health and behavioral problems; and 3) mass imprisonment might have increased Black-White inequities in externalizing behaviors by 14-26 percent and internalizing behaviors by 25-45 percent. These findings indicate that the effects of mass imprisonment extend beyond those only associated with inmates to encompass the children of incarcerated parents. In addition, these negative effects on childhood well-being are expected to continue, even if incarceration rates return to levels in existence prior to the rise of mass imprisonment. Implications for policy are discussed. Figures and references
Main Term(s): Effects of imprisonment
Index Term(s): Behavior patterns; Behavior typologies; Child development; Childhood depression; Children at risk; Children of incarcerated offenders; Corrections effectiveness; Juvenile Delinquent behavior; Problem behavior
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.