The Negative Effects Of Maternal Incarceration

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Mass incarceration is an epidemic that disproportionately affects the African American community. Since the 1970s the rates of incarcerated citizens has continued to rise, growing by 700 percent from 1970 to 2005. About 2.3 million individuals are incarcerated in the United States, and an additional 4.9 million individuals are on probation or parole, meaning that about 3 percent of adults currently experience some form of correctional supervision (Vallas et. Al., 2015). Within communities of color these numbers drastically increase. According to the Center for American Progress people of color make up 30 percent of the United States’ population but account for 60 percent of those imprisoned. 1 in every 15 African American men and 1 in every …show more content…
The negative impact of maternal incarceration for children with a mother who is unlikely to be incarcerated is can be identified as being propelled by three dynamics. The first factor is whether or not the mother is incarcerated in a jail versus in prison. This effects visitation and other factors that in turn impacts the child. Insufficient familial support can have a negative impact on the child. A support system will be beneficial to the child while the mother is incarcerated. Lastly, it matters whether the child was directly harmed by the criminal activity of the mother. If the child experience minimal or no harm they may have less of a negative impact than a child who was directly harmed by the crimes of the mother (Turney & Wilderman, 2014). Depending on the crime committed by the parent the child could feel a sense of abandonment from the parent. If the caregiver is emotionally available for the child then there can be a positive outcome in the situation (Roettger, 2015). The effects of maternal incarceration are minor for children when: the mother is entirely absent from the child’s life prior to incarceration. Due to the mother’s absence and the cause behind it the child would likely experience disadvantages regardless of maternal incarceration. In some cases maternal incarceration has proven to be a positive experience. Maternal incarceration is a positive experience for more than one-fourth of children’s caregivers. These are typically the families where the mother is actively involved in a lifestyle that is hindering the positive development of the child (Turney & Wilderman,

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