Over the last 25 years, the number of incarcerated persons has quadrupled. The number of children with a father in prison increased 77% from 1991-2007 and the number with a mother in prison increased 131% in the same time. Incarceration of a parent is very much a family matter. It has long-range economic, emotional and social consequences that affect prisoners and families, and that can affect children's well-being. Children of the incarcerated are one of the most at-risk, yet least visible, populations of children. Data about families affected by incarceration is fraught with major data gaps. For example, Minnesota doesn't collect information on whether an inmate is a parent. National estimates are our best source of data. (Unless otherwise indicated, data cited is from the Parents in Prison and Minor Children special report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, published in 2008.) (Author abstract)
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