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Policy Brief

Parents in Prison

This fact sheet provides key facts on parents in prison and policies that impede their ability to care for their children when released from prison.

Related to: Collateral Consequences, Incarceration

Man in prison talking with loved one

Overview

This fact sheet provides key facts on parents in prison and policies that impede their ability to care for their children when released from prison.

  • In 2016, 47% of people in state prisons and 57% in federal prisons were parents of minor children.
  • Most parents in prison are fathers (626,800 fathers compared to 57,700 mothers).
  • The number of fathers in prison increased 48% and the number of mothers in prison increased 96% between 1991 and 2016.

About the Authors

  • Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Ph.D.

    Senior Research Analyst

    Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Ph.D., conducts and synthesizes research on criminal justice policies. She has written about racial disparities in the justice system, public opinion about punishment, and the scope of reform efforts. 

    Read more about Nazgol
  • Emma Stammen

    External

  • Kevin Muhitch

    External

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