Men and women who are incarcerated face substantial challenges to maintaining their family relationships, both intimate and parenting. These difficulties continue as they reenter into society after their incarceration. Absence from or low levels of contact between partners due to incarceration places strain on marriages and serious romantic relationships. Parental absence due to incarceration can also imperil the well-being of children (if the parent-child relationship was not abusive). Studies show that incarcerated individuals with closer family relationships have lower recidivism rates, exhibit better behavior while in prison, are more likely to work, and are less likely to use drugs after release. This Fact Sheet provides data on the nature of family involvement among inmates. It presents research on factors that strain family relationships (in both the context of romantic relationships and parenting) when one partner is incarcerated. It also describes some of the efforts underway to maintain marriages and parent-child relationships during incarceration. (Author abstract)
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