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Second-Generation Prisoners: Adjustment Patterns for Inmates With a History of Parental Incarceration

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2011
18 pages
This study examined first- and second-generation prisoners on prison adjustment.
The authors investigated whether prisoners who had a parent in prison, “second-generation prisoners,” had poorer rates of adjustment compared to those inmates who did not report a history of parental incarceration. Among a sample of 459 men and women in prison, approximately half reported having had a parent in prison or jail. There was considerable self-reported childhood adversity within the entire sample, with relatively higher levels reported by the second-generation prisoner group. Second-generation prisoners self-reported more anger and prison violence and demonstrated a greater presence of institutional rule breaking in comparison to first-generation prisoners. Results were maintained after statistical control for the high rates of adversities in childhood. Post hoc analysis revealed differences on adjustment variables between first-generation prisoners and individuals with a mother incarcerated or with both parents incarcerated, suggesting the pronounced impact of maternal incarceration on long-term well-being. Results indicate that the negative effects of parental incarceration are evident within the prison community and have a significant relationship to inmates’ adjustment while incarcerated. (Published Abstract)
Date Published: August 1, 2011