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Linking parental incarceration and family dynamics associated with intergenerational transmission: A life-course perspective

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 3 Issue: 57 Dated: 2019 Pages: 395-423
P. C. Giordano; et al
Date Published
29 pages
This study focused on the links between crime and incarceration, as well as the broader family context within which parental incarceration often occurs.

Children experiencing parental incarceration face numerous additional disadvantages, but researchers have often relied on these other co occurring factors primarily as controls. Parents drug use and criminal behavior that precede and may follow incarceration periods may be ongoing stressors that directly affect child well being. The current analyses focused on foreground mechanisms associated with social learning theories, including observations and communications that increase the childs risk for criminal involvement and other problem outcomes. These related family experiences often channel the childs own developing network ties (peers, romantic partners) that then serve as proximal influences. These processes are explored by drawing on qualitative and quantitative data from a study of the lives of a sample of respondents followed from adolescence to young adulthood, as well as on records searches of parents incarceration histories. These analyses found evidence that 1) some effects attributed to parental incarceration likely connect to unmeasured features of the broader family context, and 2) parental incarceration and the broader climate together often constitute a tightly coupled package of family related risks linked to intergenerational continuities in criminal behavior and other forms of social disadvantage.