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date: 03 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In this essay, the authors provide an overview of theories and empirical studies on the relation between incarceration and reoffending and describe effects of parental incarceration on criminal behavior of children. How does incarceration affect offending behavior when a person leaves prison? Rigorous scientific evidence is lacking, but available empirical data suggest that incarceration has either a null or criminogenic effect on reoffending. How are children of those incarcerated affected by their parent’s prison sentence? Although several theoretical mechanisms of adverse effects have been suggested, including social transmission, economic and psychological strain, and stigmatization, research addressing such mechanisms is scarce. Available evidence points to parental incarceration as a risk factor for poor adjustment outcomes among children, with effects partly caused by caretaker stress and weakened family bonds.

Keywords: delinquency, crime, prison, reoffending, incarceration, parental incarceration, intergenerational transmission

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