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Incarcerations effects on families - Term Paper Example

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Who is Punished? The Effects of Incarceration on Family The aim of this paper is to explore the effects of incarceration on the family of those who are incarcerated. These effects are various and severe. They should not be hidden behind a veil of social indignation and emotional reaction in which law-abiding citizens demand revenge, punishment, justice, and social sanction for those whose arrest and trial indicates that they are not law-abiding…
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Incarcerations effects on families
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Download file to see previous pages Now there is a new category for incarceration, debtors, even for very small debts. In a bid for increased corporate welfare, businesses in some states (Illinois, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, Washington, for example) enlist the police, sheriff, and court system to imprison those who owe money and are not paying it quickly enough. A recent news article told about the case of Lisa Lindsay, a breast cancer survivor who ignored a $280 medical bill she was told was in error and not owed. A collection agency got jurisdiction over it and Illinois state troopers took her to jail in handcuffs (Sherter, 2012). In more than one third of the states in America, many poverty-stricken seniors, veterans, mothers, fathers, and the unemployed have been locked up in prison for the flimsiest of reasons, being unable to settle even the tiniest of debts. The marginalized poor are being increasingly criminalized. It is not the assumption of this paper that incarceration is totally without merit. There are people whose thinking is so distorted and whose actions are so dangerous that society must be protected from victimization. On the other hand, a rapidly rising prison population, unrepresentative of socioeconomic and racial parameters of the general population, and in comparison to the incarceration/population ratios of other countries, suggests a possibility that the USA criminal justice system is failing to solve crime through incarceration, and is worsening the situation. Incarcerating a person who is found to have broken the law removes a single threat from the street, perhaps, but there are less visible outcomes this paper intends to consider. Incarcerated prisoners, on any given day, represent more than 500,000 families being impacted by incarceration (Hairston, 1991). Those families need to be strongly bonded and assisted by personal and community networks. Maintaining strong family ties has been found to support prisoner and family mental health, increase the probability that the prisoner will have a family to return to after prison, and reduce the probability that the prisoner, once released, will have to return to prison for probation violations or other criminal activity (Hairston, 1991). In support of strengthening family ties, prisons are beginning to implement more generous family communication policies, marital and private family visits, children’s centers in the prison, and prison visitor hospitality houses. Families of prisoners are organizing to advocate for conditions and services that support prison families (Hairston, 1991). A lot more is needed, however, not only to provide a strong family network for the prisoner, but especially to counter the profound negative effects of incarceration on other members of the family. The effects of parent incarceration on children is a significant social issue because 56% of all state prisoners have minor children, and the majority of incarcerated adults are, in fact, state prisoners (Lengyel, 2006). Separation from an incarcerated father, the stigma attached to the incarceration, and deceptions played on the child around that incarceration have reportedly been associated with emergent aggressive and antisocial behavior, particularly in the sons of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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