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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 211257 
Title: Effects of Imprisonment on Families and Children of Prisoners (From The Effects of Imprisonment, P 442-462, 2005, Alison Liebling and Shadd Maruna, eds. -- See NCJ-211241)
Author(s): Joseph Murray
Date Published: 2005
Page Count: 21
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Literature Review
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter reviews research on the effects of imprisonment on inmates' partners as a context for a more detailed discussion of the effects on prisoners' children.
Abstract: Virtually all of such research has involved cross-sectional studies that have used convenience samples without standardized measures, triangulation of sources, or suitable controls. This means that the research can yield only cautious hypotheses regarding the effects of imprisonment of inmates' partners and children. For prisoners' partners, the imprisonment can mean the practical difficulties of loss of income, social isolation, difficulties in maintaining the relationship, and extra burdens of child care, along with the emotional adjustment to the loss of the psychological benefits of the relationship. Experiences of partners will differ according to the quality of the relationship, offense types, social support systems, and other sociodemographic factors. The assumption that parental imprisonment causes psychosocial difficulties for children is pervasive in the literature; however, studies have lacked the methodological sophistication required to distinguish the effects of parental imprisonment from the effects of other influences on children. The author argues that four types of factors should be included in a model of parental imprisonment and child adjustment: selection effects that precede the imprisonment, and direct, mediating, and moderating effects following the imprisonment. To date, there is insufficient evidence on the moderators of the effects on children of imprisonment of a parent. This is partly because of the difficulties of conducting prospective studies of prisoners' families. To test the effect of parent-child contact on children during parental imprisonment, future studies should measure child well-being by using different sources, controlling for parent-child relations prior to imprisonment, and devising sensitive measures of different types of contact during imprisonment. 6 notes and 67 references
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Children of incarcerated offenders; Effects of imprisonment; Families of inmates; Research methods
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