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May 2004Vol. 5, No. 4Supporting Incarcerated Parents

Noting that a majority of the 2 million prisoners in the United States have children under 18 years of age, the Fall 2003 issue of Family Support Magazine devotes its special focus section to articles on supporting families with incarcerated parents. The 16 selections range from research studies to first-person accounts of the effects of parent incarceration on the family. Included are descriptions of programs that address a variety of needs, including:

  • A program that helps incarcerated parents build positive relationships with their children and the children's other parent.
  • A hotline counseling program for prisoners' families and former offenders.
  • A Georgia program that supports imprisoned mothers by providing help to the mothers, grandmothers, and children.
  • A California program that provides group therapy, parenting classes, and help after prison to incarcerated mothers.

A resource file is also included that lists organizations, publications, videos, and internet resources that support families and children of incarcerated parents. The complete issue of Family Support Magazine 22(3) is available through the Family Support America website at (Editor's note: Link no longer active)

Related Items

Data Trends recently published a research summary on this topic, documenting the harm for families caused by incarceration. "The Implications of Incarceration for Children and Families" (Data Trends #91) can be downloaded at (PDF - 130 KB).

The San Francisco Partnership for Incarcerated Parents has created a Bill of Rights to encourage justice and human services groups to support children of incarcerated parents. This can be downloaded at (PDF - 668 KB).

Find more about child welfare issues related to parent incarceration in previous issues of Children's Bureau Express:

  • "Children of Incarcerated Parents: Research and Resources" (February 2004)
  • "Bureau of Justice Statistics Report Reveals Increase in Incarcerated Parents" (March/April 2001)