Adolescents With Currently Or Previously Incarcerated Parents Are At Much Higher Risk Of Delinquency And Criminal Justice Involvement. How Can This Cycle Be Broken?

Over the past four decades, the incarceration rate in the United States has skyrocketed, resulting in nearly one in every hundred American adults being incarcerated at a given time. The majority of adult prisoners are parents, often to multiple children and teenagers. As a result, approximately 3 million minors in the U.S. have at least one parent currently behind bars, and up to 8 million–approximately 1 in 14–will experience parental incarceration at some point in their childhood or adolescence. Extensive research has shown that parental incarceration puts youth at risk of a range of negative developmental outcomes, leading some researchers to call them the “invisible victims” of the criminal justice system.