Tough Topic, Necessary Reading: Finding Books for Children with Incarcerated Parents

Rebecca J. Schlafer, Alyssa Scrignoli


The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and it is estimated that about 53 percent of men and 61 percent of women in the US prison population are parents of minor children.

As the number of people incarcerated in US prisons and jails grows, so too does the number of children affected by their parents’ absence. Recent estimates suggest that more than 2.7 million US children now have a parent in prison or jail.

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International Centre for Prison Studies, World Prison Population List, 10th ed. (London: University of Essex, 2013).

Laura M. Maruschak, Laura E. Glaze, and Christopher J. Mumola, “Incarcerated Parents and Their Children: Findings from the Bureau of Justice Statistics” in Children of Incarcerated Parents: A Handbook for Researchers and Practitioners, eds. J. Mark Eddy and Julie Poehlmann (Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute Press, 2010), 33.

Pew Charitable Trusts, Collateral Costs: Incarceration’s Effect on Economic Mobility (Washington, D.C., 2010).

J. Mark Eddy and Julie Poehlmann, eds., Children of Incarcerated Parents: A Handbook of Researchers and Practitioners (Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute Press, 2010).

Julie Poehlmann, “Representations of Attachment Relationships in Children of Incarcerated Mothers,” Child Development 76 no. 3 (2005): 679–96; Ann Booker Loper and Elena Hontoria Tuerk, “Improving the Emotional Adjustment and Communication Patterns of Incarcerated Mothers: Effectiveness of a Prison Parenting Intervention,” Journal of Child and Family Studies 20 no.1 (2010): 89–101.



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