More than 5 million children, or one in 14, in the U.S. have had a parent in state or federal prison at some point in their lives, according to the Casey Foundation. Their numbers swelled by 79 percent between 1991 and 2007, according to U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) figures, largely driven by tough drug laws and mandatory sentencing.
Children of color are much more likely to have a parent in prison. One in nine African-American children had a parent behind bars in 2008, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts report (Pew also funds Stateline). One in 28 Latino children had an incarcerated parent and one in 57 white children did.Continue reading