What Do Kids Know About Incarceration?


The perception that jails and prisons are unsafe, violent environments, “may provoke anxiety” in youth with incarcerated parents, according to a new study in the journal Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice.

Researchers interviewed 106 youths, 42.5 percent of whom had parents who had been arrested, and 32.4 percent of whom had parents who had been incarcerated.

“Many youth described jail as a violent place where offenders are not safe,” researchers wrote in the study.

Asked whether jail is safe, one youth responded, “yes because there's usually guards, but no because people still have weapons or come in and kill you or kill you there or hurt you.”

Another said, “people can have stuff in their jail cells and they can make and use weapons.”

Researchers also noted that some of those interviewed believed that incarcerated parents were not allowed to see their children during confinement.

“Particularly for youth with incarcerated parents, these perceptions may provoke anxiety about the parent's well being during the separation,” researchers wrote.

Read the full study HERE.

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