Children of the Prison Boom Mass Incarceration and the Future of American Inequality
- ISBN 13:
- ISBN 10:
- Format: Hardcover
- Copyright: 12/05/2013
- Publisher: Oxford University Press
Note: Not guaranteed to come with supplemental materials (access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.)
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Parental imprisonment has been transformed from an event affecting only the unluckiest of children-those with parents seriously involved in crime-to one that is remarkably common, especially for black children. This book documents how, even for children at high risk of problems, paternal incarceration makes a bad situation worse, increasing mental health and behavioral problems, infant mortality, and child homelessness. Pushing against prevailing understandings of and research on the consequences of mass incarceration for inequality among adult men, these harms to children translate into large-scale increases in racial inequalities. Parental imprisonment has become a distinctively American way of perpetuating intergenerational inequality-one that should be placed alongside a decaying public education system and concentrated disadvantage in urban centers as a factor that disproportionately touches, and disadvantages, poor black children.
More troubling, even if incarceration rates were reduced dramatically in the near future, the long-term harms of our national experiment in the mass incarceration of marginalized men are yet to be fully revealed. Optimism about current reductions in the imprisonment rate and the resilience of children must therefore be set against the backdrop of the children of the prison boom-a lost generation now coming of age.