Effects of Incarceration Essay
The loss of a father through incarceration has affected two-parent households in the past, but with the dramatic increase in the number of males being incarcerated since 1990 (Arditti et al., 2003), the resultant number of single-mother households has similarly increased. The most recent national account for the number of males in State and Federal prisons indicates that 55% of State prisoners (or 593,800) and 63% of Federal prisoners (or 74,100) reported having at least one minor child—a combined total of 1,372,700 minor children (Mumola, 2000). It was also found that 20.2% of fathers in State prison and 32.9% of fathers in Federal prison specified living with their children in a two-parent household. The minimum number of children, then, who lived with both a mother and a father, is 144,326, which accounts for roughly 10% of the total number of children affected by parental incarceration. These 10% are the focus of this study.
Paternal incarceration creates a temporary single-parenting system, in which the mother acts as sole guardian, but imprisonment tends to produce far worse effects on children than do other causes of parent-child