More than half of the 1.4 million adults incarcerated in state and federal prisons are parents of minor children. The vast majority of incarcerated parents are male (93%) and are held in state prisons (89%). Among the men held in state prison, 55 percent report having minor children.
Among the women, who account for 6 percent of the state prison population, 65 percent report having minor children. Over half (58%) of the minor children of incarcerated parents are less than 10 years old Great distances typically separate children from their incarcerated parents.Women are housed in prisons an average of 160 miles from their children, while men are an average distance of 100 miles away.
These distances serve as a barrier to prison visits by family members.More than half of incarcerated parents report never receiving a personal visit from their children. Contact in the form of phone calls and letters often proves problematic as well. The number of calls or letters per prisoner is typically limited by corrections policy. The high cost of collect phone calls, reflecting surcharges imposed by telephone companies or the departments themselves, can make this form of contact quite expensive. Despite these barriers, nearly 60 percent of mothers and 40 percent of fathers report having weekly contact with their children while incarcerated.
The majority of parents are serving time for either violent offenses (46% of fathers and 26% of mothers) or drug offenses (23% of fathers and 35% of mothers). Incarcerated parents in state prison are sentenced to a mean term of 80 months for their current offense. More than threequarters of incarcerated parents in state prison report a conviction prior to the one for which they are serving their sentence.More than half had previously been incarcerated.
This profile demonstrates that many parents have repeated exposure to the criminal justice system, which could disrupt familial relationships
For the complete report go to families_left_behind