Mar 6, 2013

Survey Examines Children of Incarcerated Parents in New York

Sixty percent of those incarcerated in New York State prisons were parents at the time of incarceration, according to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS). A recent New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services data analysis examines the issues affecting incarcerated parents and their children. Using a survey given to 895 incarcerated parents from seven different New York State prisons, the report’s findings identify key challenges for children whose parents are incarcerated. Challenges include: 
  • 49 percent of parental participants reported having a child under 21.  
  • Prior to incarceration, 56 percent of participants lived with their children, but only 42 percent of the children had face to face visits with their parents after they were incarcerated due to distance, cost, and lack of transportation.
  • 33 percent of respondents reported that at least one of their children had been involved in their arrest in some way, but only 11 percent reported that the arresting officers allowed them to make arrangements for the care of their child at the time of arrest. 
  • Although 57% of respondents reported plans to live with their children after being released but face barriers to reunification including a lack of housing and employment. Sadly, 14% of respondents stated that their child’s whereabouts are unknown.

Conducted by the Subcommittee on Children with Incarcerated Parents, the report concludes that further exploration is needed to identify strategies to address these challenges such as lessening the financial barriers to contact between parent and child, developing child sensitive arrest protocols for police, and enhancing reentry services for families. Click here to read the full data analysis.