Most inmates are
parents. There are an estimated 2
million children with a parent in prison, about one fourth of them under five
years old. Before they went to prison,
about two-thirds of the mothers lived with their children.
families. Children of prisoners are
taken in by friends or family, or enter foster care. The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997
speeds up termination of parental rights when children are in foster care for
long-term effects on families continue after parents are released from
prison. In order to regain custody,
parents must demonstrate their ability to provide shelter, food, safety and
stability. In all cases, families must
deal with the effects of stigma and separation.
The Bureau of Prisons offers evidence that inmates
connected to their children and families are more likely to avoid negative
incidents and reduce their sentences. It
is important that ties among family members be sustained.