Special Issue "Effects of Parental Incarceration on the Family"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Mental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 February 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Rodrigo J. Carcedo González
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, University of Salamanca, 37005 Salamanca, Spain
Interests: interpersonal and sexual relationships; socially vulnerable groups; prison inmates; parental incarceration; health; quality of life
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Daniel Perlman
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Health and Human Sciences, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, USA
Interests: loneliness; personal relationships; sexuality
Dr. Julie Poehlmann-Tynan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Human Development & Family Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
Interests: health and social; emotional; cognitive development of high-risk infants and young children and their families, including children with incarcerated parents
Dr. Noelia Fernández-Rouco
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Education, University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain
Interests: social; emotional; sexual needs in socially vulnerable populations

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Incarceration has important effects not only on the individual but also on a family level. The relationship between incarcerated parents and their children is inevitably affected. On the one hand, the imprisoned parent has to make a series of decisions about the way in which they want to be a parent from prison or jail and how to carry out their parental role in a satisfactory manner. On the other hand, minors affected by parental imprisonment also suffer the consequences of these circumstances. Children with an incarcerated parent have shown lower levels of physical and psychological health and higher levels of social stigmatization, school and behavioral problems, as well as risky and criminal behavior, among others. To protect their wellbeing, the relationship of the children with five fundamental elements is of special importance: (1) the parent in prison or jail, (2) the prison or jail context and the different types of communications, (3) the main caregiver who is out of prison or jail, whose levels of parental stress are significantly increased, (4) their group of peers, (5) and the school. At last, parents’ (and also non-parents’) romantic and sexual life can also be affected by prison due to the difficulties in keeping in contact and the visits’ conditions in which this contact occurs.

Thus, it is clear that the incarceration of a family member challenges the family as a whole. This Special Issue offers an opportunity to publish high-quality interdisciplinary research (quantitative and qualitative), systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and evidence-based interventions. All these types of articles should be focused on the different challenges that families affected by incarceration face at different levels: children’s wellbeing, parental satisfaction and stress of both the prison inmate and main caregiver outside the prison, and romantic and sexual life. Studies which address the effects of family processes on prison inmates’ intentions of ceasing criminal behavior and/or their record of criminal recidivism are also welcomed.

Dr. Rodrigo J. Carcedo
Prof. Dr. Daniel Perlman
Dr. Julie Poehlmann-Tynan
Dr. Noelia Fernández-Rouco
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • parental incarceration
  • family
  • children
  • health
  • wellbeing
  • prison
  • jail

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
An Assessment of Prisoner Reentry, Legal Financial Obligations and Family Financial Support: A Focus on Fathers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9625; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18189625 - 13 Sep 2021
Viewed by 613
Abstract
Scholars have found that family support is an important facilitator of successful reentry from prison to the community. At the same time, they have argued that owing court-ordered fines or fees, also called legal financial obligations (LFOs), can act as an additional barrier [...] Read more.
Scholars have found that family support is an important facilitator of successful reentry from prison to the community. At the same time, they have argued that owing court-ordered fines or fees, also called legal financial obligations (LFOs), can act as an additional barrier to reentry, especially for parents. There remains a need to test how LFOs impact the financial support formerly incarcerated parents receive from their families. The current study responds to this gap by employing logistic regression analyses of the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) data to test whether owing court fees is associated with formerly incarcerated fathers’ (1) perceptions of available financial support from family and (2) receipt of financial support from family. We find that owing court fees is not associated with perceptions of available financial support. However, owing court fees has a positive, statistically significant association with receiving financial support from family during the first three months after prison release. This relationship remains after accounting for whether the person owes child support or sees their children monthly. Our results suggest that LFOs may create a greater need for financial support among formerly incarcerated fathers, making the financial challenges of reentry a consequence not just for those who were incarcerated but for their loved ones as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Parental Incarceration on the Family)
Article
Coparenting and Mental Health in Families with Jailed Parents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8705; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18168705 - 18 Aug 2021
Viewed by 391
Abstract
The number of families affected by parental incarceration in the United States has increased dramatically in the past three decades, with primarily negative implications for adult mental health and child and family well-being. Despite research documenting increased strain on coparenting relationships, less is [...] Read more.
The number of families affected by parental incarceration in the United States has increased dramatically in the past three decades, with primarily negative implications for adult mental health and child and family well-being. Despite research documenting increased strain on coparenting relationships, less is known regarding the relation between adult mental health and coparenting quality. This study investigated coparenting in families with young children currently experiencing parental incarceration. In a diverse sample of 86 jailed parent–caregiver dyads (n = 172), this analysis of a short-term longitudinal study examined the links among jailed parents’ and children’s at-home caregivers’ externalizing mental health symptoms and perceived coparenting alliance quality using the Actor–Partner Interdependence Model. Analyses using structural equation modeling revealed a medium sized negative partner effect for externalizing behaviors on coparenting alliance for jailed parents, wherein caregivers increased externalizing symptoms related to jailed parents’ lower reported coparenting quality. Caregiver–partner effects and both actor effects resulted in small effects. These findings highlight the roles of mental health and coparenting relationship quality when a parent is incarcerated and contribute to the existing literature on incarcerated coparenting, with implications for theory and practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Parental Incarceration on the Family)
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Article
The Health and Development of Young Children Who Witnessed Their Parent’s Arrest Prior to Parental Jail Incarceration
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4512; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18094512 - 23 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1007
Abstract
Most U.S. incarceration occurs in jails, with more than 10 million annual admissions, and most individuals in jail are parents of minor children. In this short-term longitudinal study, we examined the health and development of young children who did or did not witness [...] Read more.
Most U.S. incarceration occurs in jails, with more than 10 million annual admissions, and most individuals in jail are parents of minor children. In this short-term longitudinal study, we examined the health and development of young children who did or did not witness their parent’s arrest prior to parental jail incarceration. 228 individuals in 76 triads (incarcerated parents, children, at-home caregivers) were enrolled from four jails in two states. Jailed parents and caregivers reported on whether the child witnessed the parent’s arrest or crime. Children’s caregivers completed questionnaires about children’s emotional symptoms during the prior 6 months and demographics, as well as children’s emotional reactions to separation from the parent and child health at the initial assessment and 2 weeks later. Trained researchers conducted a developmental assessment with children while waiting to visit parents. Results of regression-based moderated mediation analyses indicated that when their emotional symptoms were high, children who witnessed parental arrest were more likely to have poorer health initially and more intense negative reactions to the parent leaving for jail. In addition, when children’s general emotional symptoms were low, children who witnessed their parent’s arrest were more likely to exhibit developmental delays, especially in their early academic skills, compared to children who did not witness the arrest. Witnessing the parent’s crime related to missed milestones in social and adaptive development. Findings have implications for policies regarding safeguarding children during parental arrest and referrals for health- and development-promotion services following parental criminal justice system involvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Parental Incarceration on the Family)
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Article
Correlates of a Positive Parenting Experience in Prison
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 626; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18020626 - 13 Jan 2021
Viewed by 822
Abstract
The two goals of this study were: (1) to explore the relationship of a parent’s experience in prison in combination with a range of characteristics relating to the parent in prison, to the children, and to the caregiver, and (2) to explore the [...] Read more.
The two goals of this study were: (1) to explore the relationship of a parent’s experience in prison in combination with a range of characteristics relating to the parent in prison, to the children, and to the caregiver, and (2) to explore the role of sex and nationality in this relationship. A total of 202 parents in prison (99 men and 103 women; 106 Spanish and 96 foreigners) participated in this study. To maximize the understanding of the questions, in-person interviews were conducted to collect answers to the questionnaire. The findings particularly highlight the importance of the role of the primary caregiver in ensuring that the parent in prison has a positive parenting experience during incarceration. More specifically, the parent in prison reports a better parenting experience when they perceive the primary caregiver as a link between themselves and their children in a positive way. This finding points to the importance of intervention and research on this relationship in order to enhance parental satisfaction and the relationship between the imprisoned parent and their children, as well as the family’s resilience during parental imprisonment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Parental Incarceration on the Family)
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Article
Incarceration Exposure and Barriers to Prenatal Care in the United States: Findings from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7331; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17197331 - 08 Oct 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1080
Abstract
Previous research demonstrates that exposure to incarceration during pregnancy – either personally or vicariously through a partner – worsens parental care. However, little is known about the specific barriers to parental care that are associated with incarceration exposure. Using data from the Pregnancy [...] Read more.
Previous research demonstrates that exposure to incarceration during pregnancy – either personally or vicariously through a partner – worsens parental care. However, little is known about the specific barriers to parental care that are associated with incarceration exposure. Using data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (years 2009–2016), the current study examines the relationship between exposure to incarceration during pregnancy and barriers to prenatal care in the United States. Negative binomial and logistic regression models were used to assess the association between the recent incarceration of a woman or her partner (i.e., incarceration that occurred in the 12 months prior to the focal birth) and several barriers to prenatal care. Findings indicate that exposure to incarceration, either personally or vicariously through a partner, increases the overall number of barriers to prenatal care and this association operates through several specific barriers including a lack of transportation to doctor’s appointments, having difficulty finding someone to take care of her children, being too busy, keeping pregnancy a secret, and a woman not knowing she was pregnant. Policies designed to help incarceration exposed women overcome these barriers can potentially yield benefits for enhancing access to parental care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Parental Incarceration on the Family)
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Review

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Review
Challenges Associated with Parenting While Incarcerated: A Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9927; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18189927 - 21 Sep 2021
Viewed by 458
Abstract
Of the 2.5 million people who are incarcerated in the United States, over half are parents. While it is well-established that incarceration has a detrimental impact on the children of incarcerated parents, less is known regarding the psychological impact of incarceration on parents [...] Read more.
Of the 2.5 million people who are incarcerated in the United States, over half are parents. While it is well-established that incarceration has a detrimental impact on the children of incarcerated parents, less is known regarding the psychological impact of incarceration on parents themselves. The present review summarizes existing literature on the impact of incarceration on parents retrieved via online databases. Published articles were classified according to their overall themes and summarized. Pertinent studies include the psychological and emotional consequences of incarceration on parents, the experience of parenting while incarcerated, including barriers to parenting, the utility of parenting program interventions during periods of incarceration, and how these results differ for mothers and fathers. While the existing evidence introduces these issues, there is a need for additional research on the impact of incarceration on parents. These areas for future research as well as clinical implications are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Parental Incarceration on the Family)
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