Advertisement

Can Alternatives to Incarceration Enhance Child Well-Being?

  • Alyssa W. GoldmanEmail author
  • Lars H. Andersen
  • Signe H. Andersen
  • Christopher Wildeman
Chapter

Abstract

In this chapter, we consider how alternatives to parental incarceration such as probation and community service could influence child well-being. As an increasing number of studies document a variety of negative outcomes for children with incarcerated parents, the broader use of alternative sentencing may serve as an important buffer against adverse effects of parental incarceration on children. We first discuss what alternatives to incarceration in the USA typically include. Second, we outline theoretical mechanisms through which these alternatives could enhance child well-being. Next, we discuss the data structure needed to rigorously test these alternatives. We then review the limited US-based research on the topic, as well as some of the more rigorous and expansive empirical studies on alternatives to incarceration and child well-being that have been conducted outside of the USA. We conclude with a discussion of key directions to advance research in this area, including a review of promising and ongoing programmatic efforts to implement related policy changes for convicted individuals with minor children.

Keywords

Parental incarceration Child well-being Probation Community-based sentencing Alternative punishment 

References

  1. Agular, C. M., & Leavell, S. (2017). A statewide parenting alternative sentencing program: Description and preliminary outcomes. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 87(1), 1–16.Google Scholar
  2. Andersen, L. H., & Andersen, S. H. (2014). Effect of electronic monitoring on social welfare dependence. Criminology & Public Policy, 13(3), 349–379.Google Scholar
  3. Andersen, L. H., & Wildeman, C. (2015). Measuring the effect of probation and parole officers on labor market outcomes and recidivism. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 31(4), 629–652.Google Scholar
  4. Andersen, S. H. (2015). Serving time or serving the community? Exploiting a policy reform to assess the causal effects of community service on income, social benefit dependency and recidivism. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 31(4), 537–563.Google Scholar
  5. Andersen, S. H., Andersen, L. H., Fitzpatrick, M. D., & Wildeman, C. (2017). How alternatives to imprisonment could affect child well-being. In C. Wildeman, A. R. Haskins, & J. Poehlmann-Tynan (Eds.), When parents are incarcerated: Interdisciplinary research and interventions to support children. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press.Google Scholar
  6. Andersen, S. H., & Wildeman, C. (2014). The effect of paternal incarceration on children’s risk of foster care placement. Social Forces, 93(1), 269–298.Google Scholar
  7. Berger, L. M., Cancian, M., Cuesta, L., & Noyes, J. L. (2016). Families at the intersection of the criminal justice and child protective services systems. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 665(1), 171–193.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Binswanger, I. A., Stern, M. F., Deyo, R. A., Heagerty, P. J., Cheadle, A., Elmore, J. G., et al. (2007). Release from prison—A high risk of death for former inmates. New England Journal of Medicine, 356(2), 157–165.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Braman, D. (2004). Doing time on the outside: Incarceration and family life in urban America. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  10. Bhuller, M., Dahl, G. B., Loken, K. V., & Mogstad, M. (2018). Intergenerational effects of incarceration (NBER Working Paper No. 24227). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  11. Carson, A. E. (2015). Prisoners in 2014. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.Google Scholar
  12. Comfort, M. (2007). Punishment beyond the legal offender. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 3(1), 271–296.Google Scholar
  13. Comfort, M. (2016). “A twenty-hour-a-day job”: The impact of frequent low-level criminal justice involvement on family life. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 665(1), 63–79.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Di Tella, R., & Schargrodsky, E. (2013). Criminal recidivism after prison and electronic monitoring. Journal of Political Economy, 121(1), 28–73.Google Scholar
  15. Dobbie, W., Grongvist, H., Niknami, S., Palme, M., & Priks, M. (2018). Intergenerational effects of incarceration (NBER Working Paper No. 24186). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  16. Fallesen, P., & Andersen, L. H. (2017). Explaining the consequences of imprisonment for union formation and dissolution in Denmark. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 36(1), 154–177.Google Scholar
  17. Fazel, S., & Baillargeon, J. (2011). The health of prisoners. The Lancet, 377(9769), 956–965.Google Scholar
  18. Fazel, S., & Seewald, K. (2012). Severe mental illness in 33,588 prisoners worldwide: Systematic review and meta-regression analysis. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 200(5), 364–373.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Geller, A., Cooper, C. E., Garfinkel, I., Schwartz-Soicher, O., & Mincy, R. B. (2012). Beyond absenteeism: Father incarceration and child development. Demography, 49(1), 49–76.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. Goffman, A. (2009). On the run: Wanted men in a Philadelphia ghetto. American Sociological Review, 74(3), 339–357.Google Scholar
  21. Guerino, P., Harrison, P. M., & Sabol, W. J. (2011). Prisoners in 2010. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.Google Scholar
  22. Hagan, J., & Foster, H. (2012). Children of the American prison generation: Student and school spillover effects of incarcerating mothers. Law & Society Review, 46(1), 37–69.Google Scholar
  23. Huddleston, C. W., III, Marlowe, D. B., & Casebolt, R. (2008). Painting the current picture: A national report card on drug courts and other problem-solving court programs in the United States. Washington, DC: National Drug Court Institute.Google Scholar
  24. Kaeble, D., & Glaze, L. E. (2016). Correctional populations in the United States, 2015. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.Google Scholar
  25. Kaeble, D., Maruschak, L. M., & Bonczar, T. P. (2015). Probation and parole in the United States, 2014. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.czar.Google Scholar
  26. Lageson, S. E. (2016). Found out and opting out. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 665(1), 127–141.Google Scholar
  27. Laureau, A. (2011). Unequal childhoods: Class, race, and family life (2nd ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  28. Larsen, B. Ø. (2017). Educational outcomes after serving with electronic monitoring: Results from a natural experiment. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 33(1), 157–178.Google Scholar
  29. Lee, R. D., Fang, X., & Luo, F. (2016). Parental incarceration and social exclusion: Long-term implications for the health and well-being of vulnerable children in the United States. Research on Economic Inequality, 24(215–234).Google Scholar
  30. Massey, D. S., & Denton, N. A. (1993). American apartheid: Segregation and the making of the underclass. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  31. McCafferty, J. T., & Travis, L. F. (2014). History of probation and parole in the United States. In G. Bruinsma & D. Weisburd (Eds.), Encyclopedia of criminology and criminal justice (2217–2227). New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  32. Mumola, C. J. (2000). Incarcerated parents and their children. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.Google Scholar
  33. Murray, J., & Farrington, D. P. (2005). Parental imprisonment: Effects on boys’ antisocial behaviour and delinquency through the life-course. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46(12), 1269–1278.Google Scholar
  34. NSCAW Research Group. (2002). Methodological lessons from the National Survey of child and adolescent well-being: The first three years of the USA’s first national probability study of children and families investigated for abuse and neglect. Children and Youth Services Review, 24(6–7), 513–541.Google Scholar
  35. Oliver, M. L., & Shapiro, T. M. (2006). Black wealth/white wealth: A new perspective of racial inequality (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Petersilia, J. (1997). Probation in the United States. Crime and Justice, 22, 149–200.Google Scholar
  37. Petersilia, J. (2003). When prisoners come home: Parole and prisoner reentry. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Phelps, M. S. (2013). The paradox of probation: Community supervision in the age of mass incarceration. Law & Policy, 35(1–2), 51–80.Google Scholar
  39. Poehlmann-Tynan, J., Burnson, C., Runion, H., & Weymouth, L. A. (2017). Attachment in young children with incarcerated fathers. Development and Psychopathology, 29, 389–404.Google Scholar
  40. Roettger, M. E., & Swisher, R. R. (2011). Association of fathers’ history of incarceration with sons’ delinquency and arrest among black, white, and hispanic males in the United States. Criminology, 49(4), 1109–1147.Google Scholar
  41. Oregon Department of Human Services. (2016). Family sentencing alternative pilot program: Report to the senate and house committees on judiciary.Google Scholar
  42. Shaw, T. V., Bright, C. L., & Sharpe, T. L. (2015). Child welfare outcomes for youth in care as a result of parental death or parental incarceration. Child Abuse and Neglect, 42, 112–120.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Swann, C. A., & Sylvester, M. S. (2006). The foster care crisis: What caused caseloads to grow? Demography, 43(2), 309–335.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Travis, J., Western, B., & Redburn, S. (Eds.). (2014). The growth of incarceration in the United States: Exploring causes and consequences. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  45. Turney, K. (2014a). Stress proliferation across generations? Examining the relationship between parental incarceration and childhood health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 55(3), 302–319.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  46. Turney, K. (2014b). The consequences of paternal incarceration for maternal neglect and harsh parenting. Social Forces, 92(4), 1607–1636.Google Scholar
  47. Turney, K. (2015). Paternal incarceration and children’s food insecurity: A consideration of variation and mechanisms. Social Service Review, 89(2), 335–367.Google Scholar
  48. Wakefield, S., & Wildeman, C. (2014). Children of the prison boom: Mass incarceration and the future of American inequality. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Wildeman, C. (2009). Parental imprisonment, the prison boom, and the concentration of childhood disadvantage. Demography, 46(2), 265–280.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  50. Wildeman, C., & Andersen, S. H. (2017). Paternal incarceration and children’s risk of being charged by early adulthood. Criminology, 55(1), 32–58.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alyssa W. Goldman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lars H. Andersen
    • 2
  • Signe H. Andersen
    • 2
  • Christopher Wildeman
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SociologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.ROCKWOOL Foundation Research UnitCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Policy Analysis and ManagementCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations