Children of Incarcerated Parents: A Bill of Rights

San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership

in Interrupted Life

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780520252493
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944565 | DOI:
Children of Incarcerated Parents: A Bill of Rights

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More than two million American children have a parent behind bars today. Seven million, or one in ten of the nation's children, have a parent under criminal justice supervision—in jail or prison, on probation, or on parole. Little is known about what becomes of children when their parents are incarcerated. There is no requirement that systems serving children—schools, child welfare, juvenile justice—address parental incarceration. The children of prisoners are guaranteed nothing. They have committed no crime, but the penalty they are required to pay is steep. A criminal justice model that took as its constituency not just individuals charged with breaking the law, but also families and communities within which their lives are embedded—one that respected the rights and needs of children—might become one that inspired the confidence and respect of those families and communities, and so played a part in stemming, rather than perpetuating, the cycle of crime and incarceration. This chapter presents a Bill of Rights for children of incarcerated parents.

Keywords: Bill of Rights; children of prisoners; criminal justice; incarcerated parents; crime; incarceration

Chapter.  3533 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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