Children of Imprisoned Parents in Numbers

  • Peter Scharff Smith
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology book series (PSIPP)


It is difficult to say precisely how many children actually experience having a parent in prison. The explanation is simply that this is typically not registered in any official statistic and I have so far failed to find a country that releases yearly updates or any kind of regular official estimate of the number of prisoners’ children. This is one indication that these children and their problems have, as a rule, been outside of the authorities’ and, for many years, the media’s spotlight.1


Foster Care Violent Crime Prison Population Family Situation Biological Child 
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    Gill Pugh, Sentenced Families: Signs of Change for Children with a Parent in Prison (Ipswich: Ormiston Children and Families Trust, 2004), 15.Google Scholar
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    See Joseph Murray et al. Effects of Parental Imprisonment on Child Antisocial Behaviour and Mental Health: A Systematic Review (Oslo: Campbell Collaboration, 2009), 9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Statistics Denmark, Børns Familier [Children’s Families] 2008, 193.Google Scholar
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    Wildeman, C., “Parental Imprisonment, the Prison Boom, and the Concentration of Childhood Disadvantage”, Demography 46, no. 2 (2009), 266.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Peter Scharff Smith 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Scharff Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Danish Institute for Human RightsDenmark

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