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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 48266 Find in a Library
Title: ON PRISONERS AND PARENTING - PRESERVING THE TIE THAT BINDS
Journal: YALE LAW JOURNAL  Volume:87  Issue:7  Dated:(JUNE 1978)  Pages:1408-1429
Author(s): ANON
Corporate Author: Yale Law Journal
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Institute for Scientific Information
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Yale Law Journal
New Haven, CT 06520
Sale Source: Institute for Scientific Information
University City Science Ctr
3501 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: LAWS AND PRACTICES RELATING TO THE PLACEMENT OF CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED PARENTS FAIL TO PROVIDE FOR THE CONTINUITY OF CARE THAT IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD. REFORMS ARE PROPOSED.
Abstract: UNDER PRESENT PRACTICE A CHILD IS ROUTINELY SEPARATED FROM THE PARENT WHEN THE PARENT IS IMPRISONED. IN SOME STATES THIS IS DONE ON THE BASIS OF VAGUE STANDARDS OF UNFITNESS AND IN OTHERS STATUTORY PROVISIONS DEPRIVE FELONS OF THEIR CIVIL RIGHTS. INCREASING RETENTION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS BY INCARCERATED PARENTS POSES A NEW PROBLEM FOR LEGISLATURES AND WELFARE AGENCIES, FOR STATE CUSTODY MUST BE ON A TEMPORARY BASIS. WHILE MANY INCARCERATED PARENTS ARE ABLE TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS TO LEAVE THEIR CHILD WITH RELATIVES, IN SOME CASES THE CHILD IS USUALLY PLACED IN FOSTER CARE OR A STATE INSTITUTION. THUS, CURRENT PRACTICE INVOLVING THE SEPARATION OF PARENT AND CHILD AGGRAVATES FAMILY DISRUPTION AND MAY RESULT IN SERIOUS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM TO THE CHILD, RESEARCH IN DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY HAS DEMONSTRATED THAT A STRONG ATTACHMENT BETWEEN PARENT AND CHILD IS CRITICAL TO EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT. IF THE SEPARATION OF PARENT AND CHILD IS OF SHORT DURATION OR IF THE CHILD IS PLACED IN A SITUATION IN WHICH HE CAN DEVELOP NEW STABLE BONDS, HARM MAY BE AVOIDED. A CHILD PLACED IN AN INSTITUTION OR PLACED WITH A SUCCESSION OF DIFFERENT CAREGIVERS IS UNLIKELY TO DEVELOP A REPLACEMENT BOND AND STANDS THE RISK OF DEVELOPING A PSYCHOPATHIC PERSONALITY. THE DEGREE OF RISK DEPENDS UPON THE LENGTH OF SEPARATION AND THE AGE OF THE CHILD AT TIME OF SEPARATION; OLDER CHILDREN ARE LESS ABLE TO TOLERATE LENGTHY SEPARATION THAN THE INFANTS. IN SOME CASES, PERMANENT SEPARATION OF PARENT AND CHILD MAY BE INEVITABLE. IN OTHERS, REUNION FOLLOWING SEPARATION MAY INVOLVE SERIOUS ADJUSTMENT PROBLEMS FOR BOTH PARENT AND CHILD. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT INSTITUTIONALIZATION, FOSTER CARE, AND PLACEMENT WITH RELATIVES ALL MAY HARM THE CHILD AND ARE NOT IN THE CHILD'S BEST INTERESTS. TO REMEDY THIS SITUATION, MAJOR CHANGES IN EXISTING INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS WILL BE NEEDED. IT IS PROPOSED THAT PARENTS WITH CHILDREN UNDER 2 YEARS OF AGE BE PERMITTED TO KEEP THEIR CHILDREN WITH THEM IN THE PRISON FACILITY AS IN A LOW SECURITY RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY. BY 2 TO 3 YEARS OF AGE, A BOND HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED AND THE CHILD'S SOCIALIZATION AND PEER NEEDS WILL NEED TO BE MET. IF POSSIBLE, ARRANGEMENTS FOR PLACEMENT OF THE CHILD WITH A RELATIVE, SHOULD BE MADE AND FREQUENT PARENT-CHILD CONTACTS FACILITATED. WHEN FOSTER PLACEMENT IS UNAVOIDABLE, IT SHOULD BE AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE TO THE PARENT'S PRISON. FOLLOWING RELEASE OF THE PARENT, SERVICES TO EASE THE REUNION AND THE PARENT'S REINTEGRATION INTO THE COMMUNITY WILL BE NEEDED. ALTHOUGH IN SOME CASES THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP MUST BE TERMINATED, THIS SHOULD NEVER BE DECIDED SOLELY ON THE LENGTH OR CONDITIONS OF THE PARENT'S INCARCERATION. NOTES ARE PROVIDED. (JAP)
Index Term(s): Child care services; Domestic relations; Inmates; Juvenile foster homes; Juvenile shelter care; Penology; Personality; Psychopaths; Reform; Services; Welfare services
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=48266

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