The Role of Incarceration on Parenting

How does incarceration affect the context and processes of parenting? This research presentation examines how salient demographic status, cumulative disadvantage, institutional practices, and a sociopolitical environment characterized by stigma serve to shape intraindividual and relational processes linked to parental imprisonment. Effects include weakened parenting identities and parental distress for the offender. Relational processes such as family contact and co-parenting during imprisonment are particularly important, as they influence offender parenting while confined and the resumption of familial roles upon release. The implications of parental incarceration on families will be considered and challenges and recommendations for research, intervention, and policy discussed. Joyce Arditti received her doctorate in family studies from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Her research interests include family disruption, parent-child relationships, and public policy. Her scholarship is recognized nationally and abroad and she has published numerous empirical and review articles in psychology, social work, and family studies journals. Her current work emphasizes the impact of incarceration on families, prisoner reentry, and maternal distress processes. She is a long-time member of the National Council on Family Relations and served as editor of Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies from 2004 to 2009. She is also a program evaluation consultant for the CYFAR-funded 4-H LIFE program in Missouri.

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Arditti, J.