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Bridging the Gap between Research and Practice: The Role of Science in Addressing the Effects of Incarceration on Family Life

NCJ Number
The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Volume: 665 Dated: May 2016 Pages: 231-240
Date Published
May 2016
10 pages
This article reviews research findings on the impact of massive incarceration on the families of those incarcerated, particularly families already impacted by adverse socioeconomic conditions.
In 2014, the National Research Council reported on research that shows the increasing rates of incarceration in America, coupled with the "revolving door" of individuals repeatedly in and out of prison, has severe effects on families with incarcerated members. Severe socioeconomic impacts are experienced not only by the families of those incarcerated but also the communities in which they live, particularly racial and ethnic minority communities with relatively high rates of crime and resident incarceration (Pratt and Cullen 2005, Sampson and Loeffler, 2010; and Wakefield and Uggen, 2010; Western, 2006). For this subpopulation, family fragmentation, direct and indirect exposure to violence, and criminal justice intervention have become a way of life (Maruna, 2011; Massey, 2007). The consequences of the mass imprisonment movement have not been restricted to families with dangerous, violent, repeat offenders. Rather, first-time offenders sentenced for nonviolent offenses compose a significant proportion of inmates cycling in and out of jails and prisons across the Nation. The harms of incarceration are magnified by the frequency, duration, and overall quality of confinement. (Publisher extract modified)

Date Published: May 1, 2016