Beyond the Bars: Consequences of Parental Incarceration on Child Outcomes
(Crime and Drugs)
Saturday, November 14, 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Johnson I (Hyatt Regency Miami)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Panel Organizers: B. Danielle Williams, University of Southern California
Panel Chairs: Thomas A. Loughran, University of Maryland
Discussants: Johanna Lacoe, Mathematica Policy Research and Jennifer Doleac, University of Virginia
In an era of mass incarceration, children are increasingly facing the consequences of parental incarceration. Understanding how parental incarceration affects children’s outcomes is crucial for school districts and communities who seek to serve these children. Given that many children who have an incarcerated parent are already at-risk for negative outcomes due to poverty and other disadvantages, parental incarceration may afflict a particularly vulnerable population of children. While there is a growing body of literature on the impact of parental incarceration on child and adolescent outcomes, little research has been done on the mechanisms and duration of these outcomes.
The proposed panel features four papers that go beyond examining the straightforward consequences of parental incarceration to explore the mechanisms and context of these negative outcomes, and efforts to address them. These four studies employ diverse methodologies and datasets to look at various dimensions of parental incarceration. Trajectories of Paternal Incarceration and Child Wellbeing uses the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing dataset and growth curve models to examine the academic, behavioral, and health outcomes associated with paternal incarceration as well as the expected duration of these effects. Using hierarchal linear models to analyze panel data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Parental Incarceration and School-Level Contextual Effects: An Analysis of the Academic Achievement Gap and the Stigma Hypothesis looks at the role of stigma in moderating the impact of parental incarceration on adolescent outcomes. Prison from the Outside: Evaluating the Pain of the Prison System Program evaluates the impact of participation in a Los Angeles High School’s program for adolescents who have experienced personal or familial incarceration. The study examines these students’ academic and behavioral outcomes using a pre-test/post-test methodology with a non-randomized comparison group. Finally, Mass Imprisonment and the Intergenerational Transmission of Disadvantage: Paternal Incarceration and Children’s Cognitive Skill Development also uses the Fragile Families dataset to estimate the impact of paternal incarceration on cognitive outcomes using propensity score matching. The study also estimates the proportion of the black-white achievement that may be accounted for during mid-childhood by paternal incarceration. Together, these papers present a multidimensional investigation of the consequences of parental incarceration for children using rigorous research methodologies. The panel aims to foster a meaningful dialogue between the panelists and the audience about the context and consequences of parental incarceration and promising strategies to improve outcomes for affected children.