Children of Incarcerated Parents
the nation, approximately 1.7 million American children have a parent
incarcerated in state or federal prison.
Who populates our prisons?
People without jobs, people without a high school diploma, people who believed
they had no other avenue than criminal activity.
At-risk youth are continuing
to enter the justice system at alarming rates. High school dropouts, those from
low socio-economic, high-poverty neighborhoods, especially children of color,
have a 70 percent lifetime likelihood of being locked up.
o Outcomes for children of incarcerated parents, research has suggested,
directly correlate to the quality and quantity of time spent with their parents
in prison, and are dependent upon the cultivation of healthy connections within
The Pennsylvania Department of
Corrections is committed to facilitating positive interactions and outcomes for
these fragile and impaired parent-child relationships while maintaining ongoing
efforts to support and strengthen them. And we want to keep them out of prison.
In Pennsylvania Alone...
· Approximately 81,096 children have a parent
incarcerated in a Pennsylvania state prison, or roughly 3 percent of all minor
children in the commonwealth. Approximately 65 percent of Pennsylvania state
prison inmates have at least one child.
· Approximately 75,747 children in Pennsylvania
specifically have a father incarcerated in a Pennsylvania state prison. About
64 percent of male Pennsylvania state prison inmates have at least one child.
5,349 children in Pennsylvania specifically have a mother incarcerated in a
Pennsylvania state prison. About 72 percent of female Pennsylvania state prison
inmates have at least one child. In other words, our 2,877 incarcerated female
inmates have 2.048 children.
the past two years, our female inmate population has increased by 120 inmates
(a 4.4 percent increase), while our male inmate population has decreased by 947
(a 3 percent decrease). Current projections are that our female inmate
population might continue to grow by another 230 inmates over the next five years
(an 8 percent growth).
· In 2011-2012, 7 percent of all PA
children had the experience of an incarcerated parent.
in 7 children living in poverty have an incarcerated parent.
1 in 9 African American children, or
11.4 percent, has an incarcerated parent. African American children are 7.5
times more likely to have an incarcerated parent.
1 in 28 Hispanic children, or 3.5
percent, has an incarcerated parent. Hispanic children are 2.7 times more
likely to have an incarcerated parent.
1 in 57 white children, or 1.8
percent, has an incarcerated parent.
Every time we talk about corrections reform, it really must
begin with the realization that improving the chances for children, especially
those in our most disadvantaged communities, is not just a great investment
financially, but our responsibility and the true answer to improving criminal
justice in America.
When we spend money on children and do it on the front end,
keeping them out of jail and on the right path,
we make the investment of a
This page was last updated on 03/15/2017