Six Recommendations for Supporting Families Affected by Parental Incarceration

A Review of the Literature

By Emily Brennan, Meghan McCormick, Bright Sarfo, Michelle S. Manno

Over five million American children under 18 have had a parent jailed or incarcerated. Due to systematic inequalities rooted in policies and practices that affect the likelihood of being arrested, convicted, and incarcerated, Black and Latino children have been disproportionately affected. Parental incarceration has direct consequences for children and families. Family-strengthening programs seek to maintain and build healthy relationships between parents who are incarcerated and their children. They have the potential to reduce the harmful effects of incarceration on families. This brief describes opportunities to apply six recommendations for designing, developing, and implementing services, taken from a recent investigation of family-strengthening programs.

Brennan, Emily, Meghan McCormick, Bright Sarfo, and Michelle Manno. 2021. “Six Recommendations for Supporting Families Affected by Parental Incarceration.” New York: MDRC.