Prison isn’t only bad for the emotional and physical health of inmates, says USA Today. It’s bad for their children, according to a University of California-Irvine study. Researchers found that significant health problems and behavioral issues were associated with the children of incarcerated parents, and that parental incarceration may be more harmful to children’s health than divorce or death of a parent.
Compared to children of similar demographic, socioeconomic and familial characteristics, the study found that having a parent in prison was associated with a child’s deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, speech or language problems and developmental delays. The study did note that minorities and low-income families tend to have higher levels of incarcerated parents. Among black children with fathers without a high school diploma, about 50% will experience parental incarceration by age 14, compared to 7% of white children, researchers said.