Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Effects of Parental Incarceration on Children

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Advisory

National observations indicate that the number of American children who have a
parent in prison exceeds 1.7 million.3 Many more probably have a parent in jail. In 1997
an estimated 2.8 percent of all children under the age of 18 had at least one parent in a
state or federal prison or in a local jail; about 1 in 40 children had an incarcerated father,
and about 1 in 359 children had an incarcerated mother.4 Certain ethnic groups are
affected more than others. According to the data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics,
African-American children are seven and a half times more likely than white children to
have a parent in prison, and for Latino children the rate is two and a half times higher
than for whites.5 Most of the children with a parent in prison (58 percent) are less than
ten years old.6 Children of the incarcerated have been described as “invisible victims” or
“collateral damage” in a much broader social phenomenon - that of mass incarceration.
This term – ‘mass incarceration’ – has been often used lately to describe the exponential
growth of prison population in the U.S. today.7 According to a study commissioned by
the Pew Charitable Trusts, in 2008 the United States had more people behind bars than
any other country in the world.8 By that year, nearly one in 100 adults in the U.S. was
incarcerated.9 As a result of a fundamental change in criminal justice policies, prison
population grew at a historically unprecedented rate, and its composition changed
significantly: more people are sent to prison for non-violent (mostly drug) crimes. Many
of these non-violent drug offenders are women. Women under supervision by various
justice system agencies were mothers of an estimated 1.3 million minor children; an
estimated 72 percent of women on probation, 70 percent of women held in local jails, 65
percent of those in state prisons, and 59 percent of those in federal prisons have mino

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