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The most obvious and perhaps most serious collateral consequence of incarceration is family separation. Imprisonment undermines families and has a detrimental impact upon children, caretakers, and the communities in which they live. Unlike other collateral consequences, family separation has an irreversible impact upon both parents and children. The time apart is lost forever because a childhood can never be recovered.

This Essay will review the available statistical information about incarcerated parents and their children and discuss the detrimental effects of parental incarceration upon families. The Essay will conclude with some reflections about why the adverse consequences of incarceration for prisoners' families remain largely unaddressed.


Criminal Law | Family Law | Law


This article was initially published in Volume 30 of the Fordham Urban Law Journal and is republished with permission.