Issues and Facts
  • Are Children Better Off Without Their Incarcerated Parents?

    Posted on   1/12/2015  5:05 PM

    Should children of incarcerated parents be allowed to cut off ties with their moms or dads if their parents are imprisoned for a long time?

    Will the children be better off without their parents?

    That was among the issues raised in a recent article of The Nation. Here’s an excerpt:

    Some states allow the children of prisoners with sentences of a certain length to be adopted, thus severing ties with parents who use drugs or are involved in other criminal or gray-market activities. The theory is that children are likely better off without their crime-prone parents.

    That theory has been largely disproved by new data that has allowed researchers to examine the well-being of children before and after a parent’s incarceration.

    A very small subset of children—those with abusive parents—were found to be more likely to thrive academically and socially if their parents are incarcerated. But most children declined markedly. In fact, the new research suggests that prisoners’ children may be the most enduring victims of our national incarceration craze.


    This issue has been debated nationally for some time now. In California and other states, many prisoners – especially mothers – were stripped of their parental rights because of the 1997 federal Adoption and Safe Families Act.

    Some critics of the act said at the time the law has merits since it promoted adoption of children who would otherwise have languished in foster care without a permanent home. Many agreed that termination made sense if an imprisoned mother had been abusive or was serving a long sentence.

    Because the typical sentence for an incarcerated parent is from 80 to 100 months, most imprisoned parents of children in foster care have been at some risk of losing their parental rights.

    Have you known any children who have been permanently separated from their incarcerated parents?

    What are your thoughts about this?

    Tell us below.


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by  Paige Turner6/12/2016 11:01 AM

I grew up as a child of a incarcerated father. It wasn't until I was 13 years old, I was able to visit him. A friend of my mom took me. My mother struggled raising five kids on her own. Life was hard. I was fortunate and married a good guy who had a praying mother! It saved my life. I earned a degree in education and later on earned a Bachelor's degree in pyscology because I want to help others. I'm a teacher, writer, ( my pen name is paige turner) mother of five, grandmother of 11.After many years, I was able to overcome the hurt and anger of my father being incarcerated. He died in prison when I was 30 years old. I tried to have a relationship with my father on my own but he had alot of unresolved issues. I believe there must be more programs implemented in the prisons in order for there to be healing in the lives of all who are affected by incarceration. What is going on in Miami Florida with the organization children of incarcerated parents is awesome. I pray for the children and families. Our country must not forget these kids!

by  Paige Turner6/12/2016 10:58 AM

I grew up as a child of a incarcerated father. It wasn't until I was 13 years old, I was able yo visit him. A friend of my mom took me. My mother struggled raising five kids on her own. Life was hard. I was fortunate and martied a good guy. It saved my life. I earned a degree in education and later on earned a Bachelor's degree in pyscology because I want to help others. I'm a teacher, writer, ( my pen name is paige turner) mother of five, grandmother of 11.After many years, I was able to overcome the hurt and anger of my father being incarcerated. He died in prison when I was 30 years old. I tried to have a relationship with my father on my own but he had alot of unresolved issues. I believe there must be more programs implemented in the prisons in order for there to be healing in the lives of all who are affected by incarceration. What is going on in Miami Florida with the organization children of incarcerated parents is awesome. I pray for the children and families. Our country must not forget these kids!

by  Linda McDonald5/20/2015 4:10 AM

Yes I know first hand how it effect's a child whose parent is incarcerated. I have a nine year old grandson who was taken away from my son because my son is doing time right now, my son's rights were terminated because they said that he was not going to be able to care for him (he was sentenced to four years) he was placed in foster care before my son got into trouble because his mothers rights were terminated. My grandson has been having a lot of problems and is having a hard time dealing with everything that has gone on in his life in the last five years, he has been put up for adoption and we filed the papers to adopt him but we have been denied for several reason. The main reason being that they say we will try and take our grandson up to see his Dad while he is in prison. I think its very unfair what they have done to both my son and grandson, my son also has five other children (by two different mothers)and I am sure that my grandson has wondered why he was taken from their dad but the other children weren't, so how do you answer a question like that? I think its wrong to terminate a parents rights just because they go to prison. I can see it if its for a crime where someone can be hurt. But in this care the only one hurt was my son and his children,