Since every year millions of Americans experience the incarceration of a family member, this study used 30 years of administrative data from Ohio and exploiting differing incarceration propensities of randomly assigned judges, this paper provides the first quasi-experimental estimates of the effects of parental and sibling incarceration in the United States.
Parental incarceration has beneficial effects on some important outcomes for children, reducing their likelihood of incarceration by 4.9 percentage points and improving their adult neighborhood quality. While estimates on academic performance and teen parenthood are imprecise, we reject large positive or negative effects. Sibling incarceration leads to similar reductions in criminal activity. (Publisher Abstract)