Those that were Left Behind: Children of Incarcerated Parents

Dr. Carl Mazza
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The U.S. incarcerates a larger percentage of its population than any other industrialized nation. On any given day, almost two million children in the U.S. have at least one parent in prison. The impact of incarceration affects every aspect of the children's world. Emotionally they are traumatized. Physically they are affected by economic and geographic changes. The spill over of incarceration affects the children's school performance, behavior, peer relationships, sense of time, sense of self, and feelings about the future. Without intervention children are highly likely to replicate their parents' histories. In the U.S. children of incarcerated fathers are five times more likely than other children to eventually become incarcerated themselves. Social workers, counselors, and psychologists need to address the children's feelings about their parents, understand the impact on the children's worlds,
sensitize the parents to their children's trauma, and ultimately break the cycle of incarceration. Social advocates need to affect criminal justice policies that damage the children - the innocent victims of incarceration.

Keywords: Incarceration, Prisons, Children of Incarcerated Parents, Criminal Justice Policy
Stream: Education and Social Welfare
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Carl Mazza

Professor, Department of Social Work & Sociology, Lehman College of the City University of New York
Bronx, New York, USA

I have published on various aspects of criminal/juvenile justice, social policy, and the effects of incarceration on people, families, and communities. I have worked in maximum security prisons in New York for the last twenty six years. I am a part time psychotherapist at North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center in New York where I specialize in acting out adolescents and children and families of incarcerated people. I sit on the Boards of Directors of the Harlem Restoration Project, In Arms Reach Services to Children of the Incarcerated, and Exodus Transitional Community. I am a consultant to the Women's Prison Association, the Osborne Association, and the College Initiative Program for People Transitioning from Prison. I am President of the New York State Social Work Education Association and national chairperson of the Symposium of Criminal & Juvenile Justice of the Council on Social Work Education.
At Lehman College I teach social work practice, social policy, and field work practice.

Ref: I07P0086