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Dad's in prison

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Title:
Dad's in prison life histories of the children of incarcerated fathers
Creator:
West-Smith, Mary F
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
xvii, 307 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Children of prisoners -- Biography ( lcsh )
Children of prisoners ( fast )
Genre:
Biography. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Biography ( fast )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 290-307).
Thesis:
Public affairs
General Note:
School of Public Affairs
Statement of Responsibility:
by Mary F. West-Smith.

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Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
166253751 ( OCLC )
ocn166253751
Classification:
LD1193.P86 2007d W47 ( lcc )

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Full Text
DADS IN PRISON: LIFE HISTORIES OF THE
CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED FATHERS
by
MARY F. WEST-SMITH
B.A. University of Colorado at Boulder, 1978
M.C.J., University of Colorado at Denver, 1999
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Graduate School of Public Affairs
2007


2007 by Mary F. West-Smith
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Mary F. West-Smith
has been approved
lb, 7-603-
Date
N. Prabha Unnithan


West-Smith, Mary F. (Ph.D., Public Affairs)
Dads In Prison: Life Histories of the Children of Incarcerated Fathers
Thesis directed by Professor Mark R. Pogrebin
ABSTRACT
This dissertation offers an analysis of the life histories of twenty-five adult
children whose fathers were incarcerated during their childhoods. An exploratory
study using in-depth interviews with twenty men and five women, the analysis
identifies similarities and differences in the experiences of the imprisonment of the
fathers as well as other risk factors to which respondents were exposed. The majority
of study participants were exposed to multiple risk factors such as parental substance
abuse, exposure to violence, parental mental illness, residential instability, familial
criminality and incarceration, and were themselves struggling with poverty, under-
and unemployment, low levels of education, substance abuse and/or mental illness,
and involvement with the criminal justice system.
A life trajectory and turning point framework was used to analyze the life
histories. The life trajectories for many study participants pointed toward
marginalized lives prior to the incarceration of the father. However, the majority of
respondents viewed their fathers incarceration as turning points that led to even
greater challenges in their lives. While many of the fathers exhibited highly
antisocial tendencies, many of the male respondents, primarily those exposed to


increased residential instability after the fathers incarceration, viewed their fathers in
primarily positive terms and their fathers incarceration as negative turning points in
their lives. Loss of the fathers financial contribution, even if from illegal means,
often contributed to hardships the families faced after the father was sent to prison.
Other turning points included involvement with child protective services, the
mothers drug or alcohol addictions, and the introduction of a new, often violent,
father figure.
The findings of this study offer possible insights into the challenges that the
children of incarcerated fathers face. Suggestions for future research include studies
of female children of incarceration fathers, of children of incarcerated fathers who are
not involved with the criminal justice or child protective services systems, of males
who were living with and witnessed the arrest of the father, and of incarcerated
children of incarcerated fathers.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.
Signed
Mark R. Pogrebin


DEDICATION PAGE
This dissertation is dedicated to my husband, Brian M. Smith, and
daughters, Jaren A. Smith and Jenna M. Smith.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
There are many people to acknowledge for their assistance in helping me
complete this work. First, I would like to thank the twenty men and five women who
so generously volunteered to tell me their often difficult and complex life histories.
Without their willingness to speak openly about challenges they faced as children and
challenges they are still facing, this dissertation would have not been possible.
Without the guidance of my dissertation chair, Dr. Mark Pogrebin, who
introduced me to the joys of qualitative research, I would have never realized that
such a study was possible. He has been my professor, mentor, advocate, and friend
for many years and I am truly indebted to him. I hope that I have absorbed some of
his passion for this type of research, especially for exploring the plight of those on
fringes of society.
I am also grateful to the other members of my dissertation committee, Dr. Eric
Poole, Dr. Jody Fitzpatrick, both of the University of Colorado at Denvers Graduate
School of Public Affairs, and Dr. Prabha Unnithan, from Colorado State University,
for their patience and willingness to support and guide me though this long and often
difficult process.
My deepest gratitude is for my long-suffering husband, who spent many hours
listening patiently as I struggled to formulate my analysis. He is an excellent


sounding board, since he works with a high-risk population, and could understand the
challenges many of my respondents were facing. My children are fortunate to have
such a great dad. In addition, the support and motivation provided by my daughters,
Jaren and Jenna, spurred me forward. Their belief in me that I could successfully
return to school after a long absence was the start. Their comment, Mom, would you
please quit talking about it and just do it, proved to be the final incentive for
completing this study. Thanks, guys.
Lastly, I wish that my parents, Christine and Frank West, were still alive so
that I could thank them in person. I have felt their love and support throughout this
project and know that they would be proud parents.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Tables..............................................................xiv
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION......................................................1
Inmate Families...............................................1
Inmate Fathers................................................3
Children of Incarcerated Fathers..............................4
Purpose of Research...........................................5
2. LITERATURE REVIEW................................................7
Fatherhood...................................................12
Role of the Father.........................................14
Absent Fathers.............................................17
Inmate Fathers.............................................18
Family Reunification.......................................21
Children of Incarcerated Fathers.............................24
Direct Effects of Incarceration..............................29
Financial Impact...........................................30
Caregivers and Families: Changes and Stress................32
IX


Stigma and Shame
36
Separation Trauma..........................................37
Risk Factors for Negative Outcomes...........................39
Exposure to Substance Abuse................................40
Parental Alcohol Abuse...................................41
Parental Drug Abuse......................................46
Exposure to Family Violence................................48
Exposure to Community Violence.............................54
Exposure to Parental Mental Illness........................56
Exposure to Family Instability.............................59
Exposure to Criminal Activity and Familial Incarceration...61
Childhood Adversity..........................................66
Conclusion...................................................65
3. METHODOLOGY.....................................................68
Formulating a Research Design................................70
Research Theory............................................71
Life Trajectories and Turning Points.....................74
Research Design............................................78
Sampling.....................................................80
Sample.....................................................82
Subject Recruitment........................................84
x


Sample Limitations.............................................90
Significance of Interviewers Race, Gender, and Age............90
Data Collection..................................................92
Life History Calendar..........................................94
Conceptualization and Operationalization.......................96
Data Transcription.............................................98
Saturation Point...............................................99
Data Analysis...................................................100
Description...................................................102
Analysis......................................................104
Interpretation................................................104
Research Method Limitations.....................................105
4. DESCRIPTION: GROWING UP AT.........................................109
Exposure to Alcohol and Drug Abuse..............................109
Exposure to Violence............................................117
Family Violence...............................................118
Community Violence............................................123
Exposure to Parental of Caregiver Mental Illness................125
Exposure to Criminal Activity and Familial Incarceration........128
Residential Instability.........................................134
Conclusion......................................................137
xi


5. ANALYSIS: LIFE TRAJECTORIES AND TURNING POINTS
138
Risk Factors and Life Trajectories..............................140
Risk Factors..................................................141
Exposure to Substance Abuse................................141
Exposure to Violence.......................................144
Family Violence........................................145
Community Violence.....................................146
Exposure to Parental Mental Illness........................148
Exposure to Criminal Activity..............................149
Exposure to Residential Instability........................152
Conclusion: Risk Factors...................................154
Additional Risk Factors.......................................157
Witnessing the Arrest......................................157
Child Protective Services Involvement......................162
Protective Factors............................................165
Prosocial Caregiver........................................165
Commitment to School.......................................168
Lack of Protective Factors.................................169
Other Protective Factors...................................170
Conclusion: Risk Factors and Life Trajectories................172
Risk Factors and Turning Points.................................173
xii


Turning Points: Paternal Incarceration.........................174
Loss of Fathers Income.....................................175
Change of Residence.....................................177
Other Changes Related to Loss of Fathers Income.......181
Sense of Loss of Father.....................................183
Assuming Caregiver Role.....................................188
Conclusion: Turning Points Related to Fathers Incarceration... 191
Other Turning Points Indirectly Related to Fathers Incarceration... 193
New Father Figure...........................................194
Lies and Truth about Dad....................................197
Reunification with Father...................................200
Wake-Up Call: Following in Fathers Footsteps...............204
Conclusion: Risk Factors and Turning Points....................205
6. INTERPRETATION: PERCEPTION OF THE FATHER.............................208
View of the Father from the Childs Perspective..................208
Characteristics of Fathers Viewed Positively...................210
Characteristics of Fathers Viewed Negatively...................216
View of the Father and Risk Factors..............................220
Paternal Substance Abuse.......................................220
Maternal Substance Abuse.......................................222
Child Abuse....................................................224
xm


Mother Battering by Father
.225
Mentally HI Parents...................................226
Residential Instability...............................226
Multiple Paternal Incarcerations and Paternal Criminal Activity....229
Witnessing the Arrest.................................230
Child Protective Services Involvement.................230
Conclusion: View of the Father and Risk Factors.......232
Perception of the Father and Prison as a Turning Point.233
View of the Father and Subject Current Outcomes........236
Assigning Blame........................................240
Looking to the Future..................................245
7. CONCLUSION................................................254
Suggestions for Future Research........................260
Conclusion.............................................262
APPENDIX
A. CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS.....................................264
B. DATA TABLES...............................................265
C. INTERVIEWER HISTORY AND POTENTIAL BIAS....................273
D. INFORMED CONSENT FORM.....................................275
E. LIFE HISTORY CALENDAR.....................................278
F. SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS................................281
xiv


G. ADDITIONAL TOPICS AND QUOTATIONS NOT USED.....282
BIBLIOGRAPHY.........................................290
xv


TABLES
Table
3.1 Characteristics of study participants.................................83
4.1 Reported severe parental substance abuse.............................110
4.2 Reported exposure to severe violence and abuse.......................118
4.3 Reported exposure to diagnosed parental mental illness...............125
4.4 Reported exposure to familial criminal activity and incarceration....128
4.5 Reported household makeup............................................135
5.1 Parental substance abuse.............................................142
5.2 Parental heroin, crack cocaine, and polysubstance abuse..............143
5.3 Mother battering and child abuse.....................................146
5.4 Exposure to community or gang violence and gang membership...........147
5.5 Exposure to parental mental illness..................................148
5.6 Exposure to criminal activity and familial incarceration.............149
5.7 Exposure to residential instability prior to and after incarceration.152
5.8 Witnessing the arrest of the father..................................160
5.9 Child protective services involvement................................164
5.10 Prosocial caregiver.................................................166
5.11 Commitment to school................................................169
5.12 Prosocial caregiver, commitment to school, and respondent prosocial
attitudes and behaviors.............................................170
5.13 Fathers imprisonment as a turning point............................174
5.14 Financial contribution by father....................................176
5.15 Sense of emotional loss from father absence.........................184
5.16 Relationship with stepfather or new father figure...................194
6.1 Subject view of the father and current outcomes......................209
6.2 Exposure to risk factors and view of the father......................221
6.3 Subject view of the father and prison as a turning point.............234
6.4 Subject views of the father and current outcomes.....................236
6.5 Male subject views of the father, living situation prior to prison, and
current outcomes....................................................238
B. 1 Characteristics of study participants................................265
B.2 Exposure to severe parental substance abuse...........................266
B.3 Exposure to violence..................................................267
B.4 Diagnosed parental & subject mental illness...........................268
B.5 Exposure to criminal activity & incarceration.........................269
xvi


B.6 Household makeup & living arrangements...............................270
B.7 Financial contribution & residential stability.......................271
B.8 Turning points & perception of father................................272
xvii


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.
- Anne Sexton
The characteristics of a father can vary widely. Some fathers may be viewed
as the hero, the protector, the wise counsel, the provider, the teacher, or the playmate,
while others may be seen as the absent parent, the tyrant, the alcoholic, the drug
addict, the criminal, or the violent monster. The perceptions a child has of his or her
father may reflect what others see; however, perceptions may also reflect personal
interpretations that have little basis in the realities of others. We can never view a
father through a childs eyes, but having a more complete comprehension of the
complexity of the father-child relationship from a childs perspective may help us
understand what the presence or absence of a father means to a child.
Inmate Families
Over the last twenty-five years, the prison inmate population in the United
States has quadrupled. Changes in public policy, exemplified by get tough on
crime legislation, fueled this rapid increase. The perception of offenders by the
public and policymakers was driven by a media- and politically-induced fear of
violent victimization. Lost in the attempt to increase public safety through an
1


increasing reliance on incarceration was the recognition that many offenders have
serious drug and/or alcohol problems, are frequently undereducated and unemployed
or underemployed, generally live in impoverished and often violent communities,
may be suffering from diagnosed or undiagnosed mental disorders, and often have
family members, including children, whose lives may be profoundly affected by their
relationships with these offenders. Many of the legislative changes, precipitated by
much-needed attention paid to previously ignored victims, resulted in little attention
paid to others whose lives might also be changed by the increasing dependence on
incarceration.
Data on inmate families are not collected in any systematic fashion, making it
difficult to determine the actual number of children whose parents are incarcerated.
Individuals arrested for crimes cannot be required to provide information about their
families. Many incarcerated parents do not report the existence of their children to
authorities for fear their children will be placed in foster care (Johnson, 1995b).
When they do report the existence of dependent family members to the authorities,
the information is not entered into databases nor made available for analytical
purposes.
Despite the lack of accurate data, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
estimated, based on a 1997 survey of State and Federal inmates, that by the end of
2002, one in every forty-five minor child in the United States had either a mother or
father in prison (Mumola, 2004). Given the significant overrepresentation of males in
2


the inmate population, a child is much more likely to have an incarcerated father than
an incarcerated mother. However, much of the focus in both the policy and research
worlds has been on the children of incarcerated mothers (Gabel, 1992; Hairston,
1989; Hairston, 1995; Martin, 2001; Boswell, 2002). These children are more likely
to be placed in foster care than the children of incarcerated fathers and may also be
more visible than those who inhabit the hidden world of the children of incarcerated
fathers (Johnson, 1995a). While little is known about the children of incarcerated
parents in general, less is know about the children of incarcerated fathers.
Inmate Fathers
Traditionally, the vast majority of incarcerated individuals have been male. In
2002, the incarceration rate for males was approximately 15 times greater than that
for females (Maguire & Pastore, n.d.). Although the incarceration rate for females is
increasing at a more rapid rate than that for males, males still represent over 90% of
the incarcerated population (Maguire & Pastore, n.d.).
In the most recent BJS nationwide survey of State and Federal correctional
facilities, conducted in 1997, 55% of male State inmates and 63% of male Federal
inmates reported that they were fathers of at least one minor child (Mumola, 2000).
Based on the results of this survey, by the end of 2002, it was estimated that at least
1.5 million children in the United States had at least one parent in prison (Mumola,
2004). Given the significant overrepresentation of male inmates in the correctional
3


system, it was estimated that at least 1.2 of the 1.5 million children with an
incarcerated parent in 2002 were children of incarcerated fathers (Mumola, 2004).
Children of Incarcerated Fathers
Ninety percent of the inmate fathers in the BJS 1997 survey reported that the
current caregivers for their children were the childrens mothers (Mumola, 2000).
Since few of these children advertise the fact that their fathers are in prison (Johnson,
1995a), it is likely that many of them blend in with the children of other single
mothers. The problems associated with identifying a hidden population have
contributed to the difficulty in conducting research with this population and the a
paucity of studies focused on the effects of paternal incarceration.
While not all children of incarcerated fathers were living with their fathers
prior to incarceration, it was estimated that at yearend in 1999, 300,900 households in
the United States, representing an estimated 600,000 minor children, had resident
fathers in prison (Mumola, 2000). However, additional children may be affected by
the incarceration of a nonresident father if the father contributed financially to the
support of the child or if the father was in regular contact with the child. Although
many incarcerated fathers reported that they did not share a residence with their
children, many stated that they had ongoing non-custodial relationships with their
children (Mumola, 2000).
These estimates of the number of children of incarcerated fathers at any given
time do not include the large numbers of children whose fathers were incarcerated but
4


now have returned to the community. The story does not end merely with those
whose fathers are currently in prison. Since a prison experience and the family
disruption that can result from incarceration continues when a person returns to
society, the effects of incarceration may last much longer than the actual term of
incarceration (Johnson, 1995a).
Each child experiences the imprisonment of his or her father differently.
However, some common features likely exist. Some childrens lives may change
dramatically for the worse, if the father provided primary financial or emotional
support; some childrens lives may improve, if the fathers presence created chaos or
violence in the childs life and increased stability is the result of the fathers absence;
and some childrens lives may change little. Without research that informs us of what
these childrens lives are like both before and after their fathers incarceration, it is
difficult to identify whether the incarceration itself is a significant event in these
childrens lives.
Purpose of Research
Much of what we know about the children of incarcerated fathers relies either
on the perceptions of the caregivers for these children or the perceptions of the inmate
fathers themselves (Boswell & Wedge, 2002; Carlson & Cervera, 1992; Day,
Adcock, Bahr, & Arditti, 2005; Fishman, 1990; Fritsch & Burkhead, 1981; Girshick,
1996; Johnson, 1995a; Johnson, 1995b). Both caregivers and inmate fathers
frequently describe negative characteristics of the childrens behavior that are
5


generally attributed to the fathers incarceration. The few studies conducted using
information from the children themselves focus on children whose fathers are
currently incarcerated and typically investigate issues surrounding incarceration, such
as the effects of prison visitation or father absence (Boswell, 2002; Fritsch &
Burkhead, 1991; Gabel, 1992; Johnson, 1995c).
An understanding of the nature of these childrens lives prior to the fathers
incarceration is conspicuously absent. The effects of arrest and incarceration
generally cannot be disentangled from the effects of the lifestyle and environment in
which the child was living prior to and after incarceration. Without an understanding
of the risk factors these children may be exposed to both before and after the fathers
incarceration, it is imprudent to attribute negative outcomes or characteristics of the
childs behavior to the fathers incarceration.
The current study focuses on the life histories of the children of incarcerated
fathers and investigates the many risk factors to which study participants may have
been exposed. The purpose of this research is not to find a direct effect of
incarceration, but to provide a glimpse into the lives of a few of these children prior
to and after the incarceration event. The purpose of this research is not to provide a
valid chronology of events in a subjects life, but, rather, to provide insight into how
the subjects view their fathers and how they perceive the effects of the fathers
incarceration.
6


CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
The rapid increase in the number of incarcerated individuals in the United
States has led to a corresponding increase in the number of children of incarcerated
parents. The best estimates for the number of children who have parents incarcerated
in State and Federal prisons are derived from a 1997 nationwide survey of inmates by
the Bureau of Justice Statistics and subsequent estimates based on that survey.
Between 1991 and 1999, the number of children of parents incarcerated in State and
Federal prisons was estimated to have increased by 60% (Mumola, 2000). By the end
of 2002, 1 in every 45 children in America, over one and one-half million children,
had a father or mother in State or Federal prison (Mumola, 2004). The vast majority
of these children, an estimated 81% in 1999, were the children of fathers incarcerated
in State prisons (Mumola, 2000).
In the 1997 BJS survey, 55% of State male inmates and 63% of Federal male
inmates reported that they were the fathers of at least one minor child (Mumola,
2000). Forty-three percent of the inmate parents identified themselves as parents to
one minor child, 28% stated they had two minor children, and 29% reported three or
more minor children (Mumola, 2000). With an average age of eight, the majority of
these children were under the age of ten: 2% were younger than one year old, 20%
7


between the ages of one and five, 35% between five and ten years old, 28% between
ten and fifteen, and the remaining 15% between fifteen and nineteen (Mumola, 2000).
Forty-five percent of the inmate fathers and 64% of the inmate mothers in State
prisons and 55% of inmate fathers and 84% of inmate mothers in the Federal prison
system reported living with at least one of their children prior to their incarceration
(Mumola, 2000).
While the children of incarcerated mothers were more likely to have lived
with their mothers prior to incarceration, given the substantial overrepresentation of
males in the correctional system, many more children of incarcerated fathers were
living with their fathers prior to incarceration. Many of these children were likely
growing up in households with parents who had low educational attainment and who
were struggling financially. Seventy percent of parents in State prisons and 55% of
parents in Federal prisons reported that they did not have high school diplomas, with
approximately 13% overall having completed 8 grade or less (Mumola, 2000).
Approximately 40% of inmate parents without a high school diploma had received
GEDs, but many of these completed their GEDs while in an institution (Mumola,
2000). Approximately 16% of inmate parents had high school diplomas and
approximately 15% had taken college classes (Mumola, 2000) When compared to
the national non-institutionalized population over the age of 18, the highest
educational achievement is significantly lower for both parent and non-parent
inmates: 17% of the national population are high school dropouts, 33% are high
8


school graduates or have GEDs, 20% have had some college, and 30% have some
type of college degree (U.S. Census Bureau, n.d., b.).
Approximately three-quarters of inmate fathers in State and Federal prison
systems reported being employed in the month prior to their arrest for the crime for
which they were incarcerated. Eighty-four percent indicated full-time employment,
12% part-time employment, and 4% occasional employment (Mumola, 2000). Over
one-half of inmate mothers also reported employment prior to their arrest and
incarceration, with approximately three-quarters of employed inmate mothers
reporting full-time employment (Mumola, 2000). Over 25% of both inmate mothers
and inmate fathers reported income from illegal sources (Mumola, 2000). An
unknown number of inmate parents were both employed and received income from
illegal means.
Approximately 45% of inmate parents reported earnings in excess of $1,000
in the month prior to their arrest, but approximately 50% of inmate parents reported
incomes close to or slightly above the Federal Poverty Guidelines (Mumola, 2000;
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.). Inmate mothers in both the
State and Federal prison systems were more likely than inmate fathers to report
extremely low incomes (Mumola, 2000). However, given the limitations of the BJS
aggregated data, it is not possible to determine the number of children who were
living with parents in poverty prior to the incarceration of the parent.
9


African-American inmates are significantly overrepresented in the
correctional population. At the time of the 1997 BJS survey, African-American
individuals comprised approximately 12% of the national population but represented
45% of the State and Federal inmate population (Mumola, 2000; U.S. Census Bureau,
n.d., a.). This racial disparity among inmates translates into a racial disparity among
the children of incarcerated parents: African-American children were approximately
nine times more likely than White children to have a parent in prison (Mumola,
2000). Nationally, an estimated 7% of the total population of African-American
minor children, over 750,000 children, had a parent in prison in 1999 (Mumola,
2000).
Hispanic inmates were slightly overrepresented in the State correctional
population: Hispanic individuals comprised approximately 12% of the general
population but 14% of the State inmate population (Mumola, 2000; U.S. Census
Bureau, n.d., a.). However, they were significantly overrepresented in the Federal
prison system where they made up 30% of the inmate population (Mumola, 2000). In
1999, an estimated 301,600 Hispanic minor children had a parent in prison,
representing 2.6% of the total population of Hispanic children (Mumola, 2000).
Hispanic minor children were approximately three times as likely as White children
to have a parent in prison (Mumola, 2000).
Individuals identified as non-Hispanic White represent more than 75% of the
national population but made up only 27% of the Federal and 36% of the State inmate
10


population (Mumola, 2000; U.S. Census Bureau, n.d., a.). Therefore, having an
incarcerated parent was much more uncommon for White children. In 1999, an
estimated 384,500 minor children, or 0.8% of the total national population of White
children, had a parent in prison (Mumola, 2000).
In the last fifteen years, there has been research interest in the children of
incarcerated mothers, primarily in the social welfare field. The academic and
practitioner perception, driven by the rapidly increasing rate of female incarceration,
has been that the children of incarcerated mothers are more likely to be severely
harmed by the mothers incarceration since they are at a much greater risk for
placement in foster care than are the children of incarcerated men (Bloom, 1995;
Bloom & Steinhart, 1993; Gentry, 1998; Johnson, 1995b; Kampfner, 1995). While
both policy and research interest has focused on the children of incarcerated mothers,
little attention has been paid to the much larger population of the children of
incarcerated fathers.
The BJS 1997 survey presents valuable general information about
incarcerated parents. However, it does not identify the characteristics of those parents
who were living with or had maintained a relationship with their children at the time
of their arrest for the crime for which they were incarcerated. We do not know how
many children were living with violent multiple recidivists, with drug traffickers,
with working parents who supplemented their incomes with illegal activities, with
parents whose sole source of income was from criminal acts, with parents who had
11


serious drug and/or alcohol abuse problems, with parents struggling with mental
illness, with parents who were junior high or high school dropouts, with parents who
were homeless, or with parents who were unable in other ways to provide a stable and
secure environment for their children. What emerges from these data are images of
children whose lives were likely difficult prior to the parents incarceration; lives of
poverty, instability, substance abuse, and exposure to criminal activity and violence.
What we do not know, however, is what these childrens lives were like both prior to
and after the incarceration of the fathers.
Fatherhood
Many fathers do not interact with and influence their children through the
traditional married two-parent family model. Thirty-seven percent of all births in
2005 in the United States were to unmarried mothers (Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, n.d.). The proportions of non-marital births are higher among poor
and minority populations, with 25% of White children, 48% of Hispanic children, and
70% of African American children bom to unmarried parents (Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, n.d.).
Although many children are bom into households where fathers are not part of
the traditional dyad, the majority of these children have regular contact with their
fathers (Casper and Bianchi, 2002). Contact between unmarried fathers and their
children is similar among the various major racial and ethnic groups: 72% of African
American and White children and 75% of Latino children bom to unmarried mothers
12


either live with their fathers or see them at least once a week (Casper & Bianchi,
2002). However, White children who do not live with their fathers are more likely to
never see their fathers than are Hispanic or African American children who do not
live with their fathers (Casper & Bianchi, 2002).
Research into fathering in poverty-stricken African American communities is
made more difficult by the complex family relationships within which children may
be raised by multiple caregivers who include various maternal figures, biological and
non-biological father figures, and other kinship and non-kinship family members
(Roopnarine, 2004). However, the image of minority fathers or unmarried fathers as
being absent from their childrens lives may not be an accurate representation of these
father-child relationships (Roopnarine, 2004). While the concept of fathering among
African American men, especially young and poor fathers, often does not meet the
traditional definition of fatherhood, many young and poor non-resident African
American fathers have emotional or financial relationships with their children, take an
interest in their welfare, and provide in-kind support and money to the childrens
mothers (Roopnarine, 2004). Relationships with nonresident biological fathers may
also change and evolve as the fathers move in and out of their childrens lives and
others, such as grandfathers, uncles, or stepfathers, assume the father figure role
(Jarrett, Roy, & Burton, 2002).
A primary difficulty in investigating fatherhood among Hispanic or Latino
families is the highly heterogeneous nature of the Latino population in the United
13


State. While the various subgroups that make up the Latino population may have the
Spanish language in common, the characteristics of families and fathers in Latino
families from varying cultural origins may widely differ (Cabrera & Coll, 2004;
Parke, Coltrane, Borthwick-Duffy, Powers, Adams, Fabricius, Braver, & Saenz,
2004). In addition to the difficulty in identifying parenting practices across Latino
groups, few studies have focused on the role these fathers play in their childrens
development. Existing studies, although relying primarily on small convenience
samples, indicate that the traditional view of Latino fathers as distant authoritarian
figures may not only be inaccurate but may also perpetuate a negative stereotype
(Cabrera & Coll, 2004; Parke et al., 2004). These studies have also found that Latino
families are more egalitarian and that the power of the man is less absolute than is
traditionally believed (Cabrera & Coll, 2004; Parke et al., 2004). In research
conducted in Mexico City, Guttman (1996) found that a definition of masculinity or
machismo among poor and working-class men included taking an active role in
parenting. Studies of Latino families, similar to studies of African American
families, typically have also neglected to consider the father figure role that uncles
and other adult males may play in single, nuclear, or extended families (Cabrera &
Coll, 2004; Parke et al., 2004).
Role of the Father
A significant body of research on the fathers influence on child development
has evolved over the last 30 years. Early research into the contributions fathers make
14


to their childrens development focused on the masculine influence that fathers
provide for the gender identification of their children, especially for sons. More
recent studies have moved beyond investigating a simple one-way effect to viewing
the reciprocal effects of the father-child interaction as part of a complex set of
relationships that include the entire family and the surrounding social system (Lamb,
2004).
Few scholars suggest that a male influence is essential and irreplaceable, but
most suggest that the fathers or father figures behavior can significantly affect the
lives of their children (Day & Lamb, 2004). However, the image of the father as
breadwinner, which often ignores other roles that fathers play, continues to dominate
the meaning of fatherhood for most men and women (Lamb, 2000; McLanahan &
Carlson, 2004). The ability of the father to fulfill the role of breadwinner continues to
be a strong predictor of the nature of father-child relationships: fathers who are
unable to fulfill that role frequently find the father-child relationship less rewarding
and are more likely to withdraw from their children (McLananhan & Carlson, 2004).
Men who are underemployed or unemployed, who have limited prospects for
meaningful employment, or who have little formal education may find fewer
opportunities for positive involvement with their children than fathers who have
access to greater resources (Marsiglio & Cohan, 2000).
The traditional popular view that the father plays a secondary or minor role in
nurturing and child development has been challenged by research findings that show
15


fathers significantly affect the development and prosperity of their children
(Bronstein, 1988; Day, Gavazzi, & Adcock, 2001; Lamb, 2004; Marsiglio, 1995).
Father-infant attachment, while different from mother-infant attachment, is important
in child development (Lamb, 2004; Bronstein, 1988; Yogman, Cooley, & Kindlon,
1988). In a study of two- and three-year old children from low-income families
enrolled in the National Evaluation of Early Head Start, Tamis-LaMonda, Shannon,
Cabrera, and Lamb (2004) found that father involvement affects childrens cognitive
and language development and also influences the quality of the mother-child
engagement.
Research findings also suggest that the father-child relationship is
qualitatively different from the mother-child relationship. While mothers generally
assume nurturing and care-giving roles, fathers and their children engage in play
(Bronstein, 1988; Yogman et al., 1988). Bronstein (1988) notes that fathers also
function as information providers for their children and that the relationship between
the male child and his father is of particular importance for gender-role socialization.
The strength of the father-child relationship has been correlated to the childs
academic performance and successful social development for both boys and girls
(Lamb, 2004). Although father-child and mother-child relationships differ in some
ways, the influence on their children is more similar than different: parental warmth,
nurturance, and closeness are related to positive outcomes for children regardless of
whether the parent is a father or mother (Lamb, 2004).
16


Absent Fathers
Father absence has been linked to antisocial behavior in children (Pfiffner,
McBumett, & Rathouz, 2001), early onset of offending among some male juveniles
(Gibson & Tibbetts, 2000), economic and psychological difficulties (Amato &
Gilbreth, 1999; Florsheim, 2000), female adolescent sexual behavior (Ellis, Bates,
Dodge, Fergusson, Horwood, Pettit, & Woodward, 2003), and educational attainment
and employment (McLanahan & Teitler, 1998). Marshall, English, and Stewart
(2001), using the LONGSCAN (Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect)
data set, found that the absence of a father figure was associated with higher levels of
child aggression, but only in African American families. Juby and Farrington (2001)
found differences between children who parents were absent due to divorce and those
whose parents had died: children who experienced parental divorce were more likely
to become delinquent than those who experienced parental death. In a study of the
short-term effects of parental separation on adolescent delinquency and depression,
Videon (2002) identified effects of separation that depended upon the gender of the
parent and child and nature of the parent-child relationship prior to the separation: the
closer the relationship between fathers and sons prior to the separation, the greater the
levels of delinquency after the separation. Murray and Farrington (2005) identified
significant correlations between parental imprisonment and higher levels of antisocial
personality, delinquency, violence, and imprisonment as later-life outcomes for the
17


sons of incarcerated parents when compared to sons who were separated from their
fathers for other reasons.
While father absence appears to have negative effects on children, the
beneficial effects of father presence may depend on the fathers lack of antisocial
behavior. Jaffee, Moffitt, Caspi, and Taylor (2003) identified a negative relationship
between the amount of time fathers spent with their children and their childrens
conduct problems. However, the more time children spent with fathers who engaged
in antisocial behavior, the more conduct problems the children exhibited (Jaffee et al.,
2003). While much of the literature on father absence suggests that children of absent
fathers may be at high risk for negative outcomes due to the lack of a father figure, it
may be that the lives of the children of incarcerated fathers, men who may frequently
exhibit antisocial behaviors, differ substantially from those whose fathers are absent
due to divorce, occupation, or death.
Inmate Fathers
Incarcerated fathers share many of the characteristics commonly associated
with other inmates, such as basic background demographic characteristics, types of
crime and history of criminal offending, substance abuse and mental health problems,
and educational and employment challenges (Mumola, 2000). While broad
aggregated data from the 1997 BJS survey allow us to compare inmate fathers to
other inmates, they tell us little about the relationships between inmate fathers and
18


their children. Additional studies of inmate fathers provide information about fathers
who spend time in prison but offer little information about the children themselves.
The types of crimes committed by inmate fathers differ significantly between
State and Federal inmates. Forty-four percent of State inmate fathers were
incarcerated for violent crimes, more than any other crime category (Mumola, 2000).
Drug offenses accounted for 23% of the current offenses and property crimes for 22%
(Mumola, 2000). Within the violent crime category, 25% of State inmate fathers
were serving time for murder or manslaughter, 20% for sexual assault, 31 % for
robbery, and 22% for assault (Mumola, 2000). Fifty-seven percent of State inmate
fathers serving time for drug charges were convicted of drug trafficking while 43%
were convicted of possession (Mumola, 2000). Approximately one-half of the State
inmate fathers incarcerated for property offenses were serving time for burglary.
Federal inmate fathers, unlike their State counterparts, were much more likely
to have been convicted of drug offenses. Sixty-seven percent of Federal inmate
fathers were serving time for drug offenses while 48% of Federal inmate fathers were
convicted of drug trafficking (Mumola, 2000). Twelve percent of Federal inmate
fathers were convicted of violent offenses: 10% of these inmates were serving time
for murder or manslaughter, 7% for sexual assault, 68% for robbery, and 11% for
assault (Mumola, 2000). Only 5% of Federal inmate fathers were convicted of
property offenses, with fraud being the most common property crime conviction
(Mumola, 2000).
19


Over three-quarters of the State inmate fathers in the BJS survey had prior
involvement with the criminal justice system, with many reporting multiple prior
probation or incarceration sentences (Mumola, 2000). State inmate fathers were also
the inmate parents who were most likely to be violent recidivists: 61% of State inmate
fathers who reported prior convictions indicated that either their current or past
criminal convictions were for violent crimes (Mumola, 2000). State inmate fathers
were also those inmate parents most likely to report multiple prior convictions: 22%
reported the current offense as their first criminal conviction, while 34% had one or
two prior convictions, 25% had three to five prior convictions, 13% had six to ten
prior convictions, and 6% had eleven or more prior convictions (Mumola, 2000).
While the prior conviction histories of Federal inmate fathers were generally not as
extensive as State inmate fathers, 65% also reported prior convictions (Mumola,
2000).
In one of the few studies that examined characteristics of fathers in prison,
Hairston (1995) found that inmate fathers in her sample were likely to have lived in
homes in which a secure attachment to both of their parents was lacking. These
inmate fathers were overwhelmingly low-income persons who were poorly educated,
lacked job skills, and had sporadic employment histories. In addition, they typically
suffered from substance abuse and had experienced repeated exposure to traumatic
events such as separations from their own parents as children, parental substance
20


abuse, domestic violence, community violence, child abuse, and the incarceration of
other immediate family members (Hairston, 1995).
The majority of Hairstons (1995) study participants did not share an ongoing
relationship with the childs mother, although one-half reported living with their
children and two-thirds indicated they contributed financial support for at least one of
their children prior to their arrest. Contact with their children was generally sporadic
or nonexistent after incarceration. Those fathers married to or living with their
childrens mothers prior to incarceration were those most likely to maintain contact.
Family Reunification
The significant increase in the number of incarcerated persons has also led to
a substantial increase in the number of persons returning to their communities. As a
result, there has been recent research interest in prisoner reentry, the process of
inmates leaving prison and returning to their communities, and variables that are
associated with the successful completion of parole without a return to prison. As
part of the reentry focus, researchers have also investigated the effects of
incarceration on inmate fathers and the reunification of inmate families. Although
these studies do not focus on the children themselves, they provide additional
information about incarcerated fathers.
In a study of successful completion of parole, Bahr, Armstrong, Gibbs, Harris
and Fisher (2005) found that a number of variables traditionally associated with a
higher likelihood of parole success, such as marriage, living with a family member, or
21


being a parent, were not positively associated with parole success or negatively
associated with a return to prison. However, variables that were positively associated
with not returning to prison were the number of close relationships within the family
network, stable housing, employment, and the quality of the parent-child relationship.
While this study did not focus on incarcerated fathers, although fathers on parole
represented approximately seventy percent of the sample, the small number of
successful parolees was not sufficient to overcome a threat to statistical conclusion
validity, thereby raising questions about the validity of the authors conclusions.
In a qualitative study of incarcerated fathers nearing the end of their periods of
incarceration, Adritti, Smock, and Parkman (2005) identified experiences,
frustrations, and fears shared by many study participants. Frequently-cited concerns
were a sense of helplessness and loss of parental control, an inability to be an
involved father, an incapability to provide financial and emotional support, and an
incapacity to help guide and discipline the children during incarceration (Adritti et al.,
2005). Visitation was especially problematic for many of these fathers and the
ambivalence associated with wanting to have personal contact with their children
while not wanting their children to see them in powerless positions was a common
theme. An additional reason fathers listed for avoiding prison visits with their
children was having to cope with the emotional pain experienced by both fathers and
children resulting from visitation. Adritti et al. (2005, p. 283) state that incarcerated
fathers self-identities as fathers are overshadowed by their self-identities as helpless
22


dads who are constrained in their ability to parent not only by incarceration but also
by dependence upon the childrens caregivers, who serve as gatekeepers for contact
with their children. While many of the fathers in this study expressed optimism
regarding reuniting with their children and improving their ability to be better fathers,
the authors speculate that unless incarcerated fathers are given the opportunity to
reclaim their fatherhood identity while still incarcerated, the hope for successful
reunification with their children may be severely limited (Adritti et al., 2005).
Day et al. (2005) found that inmate fathers frequently are not reliable sources
for information about their children and families. In a study of inmate fathers nearing
release, the fathers versions of their relationships with and their anticipated return to
their families were frequently unrealistic or ambiguous and family members to whom
the inmate father anticipated returning generally provided accounts that did not
correspond with those provided by the inmate fathers (Day et al., 2005). While many
inmate fathers assumed they would have access to their children and families upon
release, their spouses or partners were much more ambivalent about allowing the
inmate to return to the family or to have contact with the children (Day et al., 2005).
To date, there have been no published studies that identify the effects on
children of family reunification after the incarcerated parent is released from prison.
The reunion with the absent father may provide yet another stressful transition that
may further undermine a childs adjustment (Travis & Waul, 2003). It is likely that
many factors affect the nature of the father-child reunion, such as the quality of the
23


relationship prior to incarceration, the nature and frequency of contact during
incarceration, the stability of the caregiver-child relationship, the nature of the inmate
father-caregiver relationship (Travis & Waul, 2003), and, perhaps most importantly,
the intensity and nature of antisocial tendencies of the father (Jaffee et al., 2003).
In arguing that theory development is necessary to begin to understand how
incarceration affects a fathers paternal identity, Dyer (2005) contends that
incarceration may serve to interrupt not only the father-child relationship but also
may interrupt the inmate fathers self-identity. Those inmate fathers who engaged in
behaviors that identified them as fathers, such as providing financial or emotional
support for their children prior to their incarceration, may find that separation from
their children is especially difficult (Dyer, 2005). Dyer (2005) further argues that
prison norms of masculinity are likely to lead fathers further away from maintaining a
bond with their children and that their new prison identity may be maintained after
the fathers release from prison, which serves to further damage the father-child
relationship (Dyer, 2005).
Children of Incarcerated Fathers
Child welfare and criminal justice scholars note that little attention has been
paid to and little is known about the children of incarcerated fathers (Gabel, 1992;
Hairston, 1989; Hairston, 1995; Martin, 2001; Boswell, 2002). Unlike their fathers,
who are more easily identified and are more likely to be available for research
purposes, no systematic method for identifying the children of incarcerated fathers
24


has been developed. However, it can be assumed that like their fathers, the children
of incarcerated fathers are predominately of a racial or ethnic minority, poor, and
come from families with high levels of disruption (Simmons, 2000).
Limited numbers of studies from multiple disciplines suggest that children
may suffer financial and emotional harm by the incarceration of their fathers (Carlson
& Cervera, 1992; Fishman, 1990; Fritsch and Burkhead, 1981; Gabel, 1992; Gabel &
Schindledecker, 1992; Girshick, 1996; Hairston, 1987; Hairston, 1989; Hairston,
1995; Hairston, 1998; Johnson, 1992; Johnson, 1993; Johnson, 1995a; Morris, 1965;
Sack, 1977; Sack, Seidler, & Thomas, 1976; Swan, 1981). However, existing studies
generally do not focus on the children, but rather on inmate fathers, the wives of
inmates, or parenting education and support systems for incarcerated fathers. The
issues surrounding the children of incarcerated fathers are addressed primarily as
peripheral to the major research focus.
Behaviors commonly reported in children of incarcerated parents by their
parents or caregivers include internalizing problems such as anxiety, hypervigilance,
depression, and withdrawal; externalizing problems such as anger, agitation,
oppositional behavior, and aggression; changes in appetite or sleep patterns; school
problems; and symptoms of grieving (Boswell & Wedge, 2002; Carlton & Cervera,
1992; Fishman, 1990; Fritsch & Burkhead, 1981; Girshick, 1996; Johnson, 1995a;
Johnson, 1995b). Many of the parents and caregivers attribute these behaviors to the
parents incarceration. However, many of these behaviors are similar to those
25


demonstrated by children exposed to marital violence (Holden, 1998; Osofsky, 1998),
by children of substance abusing parents (Feig, 1998, McMahon & Luthar, 1998), and
by children exposed to abuse or neglect (Feig, 1998). Children of incarcerated fathers
are likely to share similar experiences with children exposed to childhood trauma and
many are likely at higher risk to have experienced previous physical or emotional
traumatic experiences such as abuse or neglect, domestic or community violence,
parental substance abuse, and periods of separation from family members long before
the their parents are incarcerated (Fishman, 1990; Johnson & Waldfogel, 2002;
Johnson, 1995a; Johnson, 1995b; Johnson, 1995c).
In an early random sample survey of incarcerated parents, Fritsch and
Burkhead (1981) found that inmate parents reported a wide array of problem
behaviors displayed by their children, including discipline problems, withdrawal,
depression, problems in school, and aggressive behavior, which the inmate parents
attributed to their own incarceration. However, this study was unable to identify the
extent of behavioral problems prior to the parents incarceration or the environment in
which the children were living prior to and after the incarceration. While this study
relied entirely on unverified data collected from inmate parents and suffered from
significant methodological problems, one interesting statistically significant finding,
that children who knew their parents were in prison displayed more problem
behaviors than those who were led to believe that their parents were absent for more
socially acceptable reasons such as for work or school, suggested the need for further
26


studies to confirm or disconfirm the initial findings. If such research had been
conducted and the initial findings were supported, an argument could be made that
father absence due to incarceration may be substantially different from father absence
due to more socially acceptable reasons.
Murray and Farrington (2005) used data collected in England from a
prospective longitudinal study of 411 male children and their parents to investigate
outcomes for children raised in a working-class, inner-city environment in London.
Data were first collected in 1961-1962 from individuals living in an area of South
London and collected again every four years afterward. Life course outcomes, such
as antisocial personality, delinquency, convictions, and imprisonment, were
significantly worse for children who were separated from their parents by
incarceration than for those separated for other reasons, even after controlling for
other risk factors, including low attainment in school, low IQ, poor supervision, poor
parenting by father or mother, and low family income (Murray & Farrington, 2005).
The authors noted that problems with the study included the small number of children
of incarcerated parents in the total sample, the inability to determine if the risk factors
were present before imprisonment, or to determine if the risk factors were acting as
mediating factors after imprisonment. They further noted that todays prison
population is significantly different from the prison population of the 1960s and that
replication is necessary to determine if the effects of separation due to parental
incarceration are similar in todays population of children of incarcerated parents
27


(Murray & Farrington, 2005). Nonetheless, their findings, that separation caused by
parental imprisonment predicted several antisocial-delinquent outcomes well into
adulthood when compared to other types of parental absence, may indicate that
parental incarceration may have effects that extend well beyond the term of
incarceration and may predict negative life-course outcomes.
The difficulty inherent in conducting research with a hard-to-identify and
vulnerable population has likely prevented the development of a body of research
findings that specifically identifies the characteristics of the children of incarcerated
fathers. The more complex question of isolating the effects of paternal incarceration
is a question that is unanswerable without exploratory research and the development
of sound theories. Given the lack of a developed body of methodologically sound
research findings specific to these children and the likelihood that the children of
incarcerated fathers may be at high risk for exposure to other types of trauma,
researchers are far from being able to conduct analyses that isolate the effects of
paternal incarceration from the many other risk factors to which these children may
be exposed. Despite the inability to confirm direct or indirect effects of parental
incarceration, many child welfare and criminal justice scholars suggest that possible
effects of incarceration include impaired parent-child bonding, inappropriate
separation anxiety, impaired socioemotional development, traumatic stress reactions,
developmental regressions, poor self-concept, impaired ability to overcome future
28


trauma, rejections on limits on behavior, and intergenerational crime and
incarceration (Travis, 2005).
Direct Effects of Incarceration
Ferraro, Johson, Jorgensen, and Bolton (1983) argue that when investigating
the effects of incarceration, preexisting family problems that worsen should be
distinguished from new problems that arise for the families of inmates as a direct
result of the arrest and incarceration of the inmate. The arrest and its immediate
aftermath can create a moment of crisis for a family, especially if the family has
limited resources. For children who are financially dependent upon a father, the loss
of the father also implies the loss of financial support, which may lead to a change in
residence or a change in employment status for their caregivers. Caregivers who
were married to or lived with the incarcerated father may suddenly find themselves
facing the stresses of single parenthood. Children who live in communities where
incarceration is viewed as deviant may experience stigma and shame while children
who live in communities where incarceration is accepted as part of life may not
experience such problems. Children who are emotionally dependent on their fathers
may experience separation trauma; children who did not have an ongoing relationship
with their fathers may be little affected by the incarceration; and children who lived in
families where fathers victimize family members may be relieved that the father is
gone. The direct effects of incarceration on children likely depend on the nature of
29


the father-child relationship, characteristics of the father, the role of the father within
the family, and the type of crime committed (Ferraro et al, 1983).
Financial Impact
Three in-depth studies by Carlson and Cervera (1992), Fishman (1993), and
Girshick (1996) addressed the effects of incarceration on dependent wives of male
inmates in State prisons and, indirectly, the subsequent effects on their children
resulting from the wives single-parent status. While the majority of children of
incarcerated fathers maintained the same primary caregiver after the fathers arrest
and consequent incarceration, many were exposed to significant reductions in family
income through both the loss of the fathers income and the expenses associated with
incarceration (Girschick, 1996). Since the majority of the children of incarcerated
fathers were living at or below the poverty level prior to the fathers arrest, any
reduction in family income could significantly alter the childs lifestyle (Hairston,
1995).
Fishmans (1993) study of thirty wives of inmates in Vermont investigated the
financial impact incarceration had on their families. The majority of inmates in this
study were sentenced for non-serious crimes and lived in poverty-stricken areas prior
to arrest. Imprisonment of these offenders placed considerable financial strain on
family members, not only from the inmates inability to contribute financially, but
also from the inmates demands for goods not available through the prison, long-
distance collect telephone calls, and travel expenses related to visits, all of which
30


severely affected family members already coping with poverty (Fishman, 1993).
Several of the wives in Girschicks (1996) study also reported a further reduction in
family income from losing their jobs when their employers discovered their husbands
were inmates.
The loss of income can lead to a change of residence for inmate families.
Many of the wives in Girschicks (1996) and Fishmans (1990) studies reported
changing residences due to the financial hardships created by their husbands
incarcerations. Weisheit & Klofas (1989) found that even short-term incarceration in
jail frequently leads to loss of rental housing. Pogrebin, Dodge, & Katsampes (2001)
note the domino effect that short-term incarceration can have on dependent family
members, including loss of housing, school disruption, and repossession of
automobiles and furniture. Carlson & Cervera (1992) state that if a change of
residence also includes a change of neighborhood and school for school-age children,
the effects on children are often dramatic: the loss of friends and assuming the role of
outsider in a new school may create additional problems for these children, especially
if peers are aware of and harass the child about the fathers imprisonment.
While the loss of family income associated with incarceration may affect
inmate families, some inmate fathers may negatively affect their families resources
prior to their incarceration. Many inmates engage in lifestyles that may severely
affect their families finances before their arrest and imprisonment. Fishman (1993)
reported that some of her study participants experienced significant reductions in the
31


family income prior to the incarceration as a result of the husbands periodic
unemployment and money spent with friends on drinking and using drugs.
Caregivers and Families: Changes and Stress
The 1997 BJS survey of incarcerated parents indicated a significant difference
in the caregivers for the children of incarcerated parents after incarceration depending
on whether the incarcerated parent was a mother or a father (Mumola, 2000).
Approximately 90% of the children of inmate fathers lived with their mothers while
the majority of the remainder lived with the childrens grandparents (Mumola, 2000).
In contrast, the children of inmate mothers tended to live with a grandparent of the
child. Unlike the children of incarcerated mothers, few children of incarcerated
fathers were reported to have been placed in foster care (Mumola, 2000). Children
who did not live with their mothers after the fathers incarceration are likely to be
those children whose mothers are also involved in the criminal justice system, are in
treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, or are deceased (Johnson, 1995c).
A familys reaction to a stressful event can determine the extent of damage it
suffers as a result of that event. Hills (1965) model of family stress events defines
the characteristics of a crisis as the interaction of the event with the available
resources the family has to meet the crisis, filtered through the familys subjective
perception of the event. Available resources, as well as the familys perception of a
stressful event, can vary widely.
32


Carlson and Cervera (1992) identify personal, family, and community
resources as three broad types of resources available to families in crisis. Personal
resources include the personal strengths of individual family members; family
resources consist of good communication among family members and consensus on
family roles; and community resources include support from friends and community
members as well as from social agencies. Families who have all three types of
resources theoretically are more likely to survive stressor events than those who are
lacking resources in one or more area. However, inmate families may be less likely
to have access to all three types of resources. As Carlson and Cervera (1992, p. 19)
note, pile-up is more likely to occur when the stressor event is a chronic, long-term
one, such as incarceration, rather than a short-term problem...[P]rior strains exist in
most [prison] families as carryovers from previous unresolved hardships and can
magnify the degree of hardship associated with a stressor event.
Coping with the stressor event can depend on the familys appraisal and
definition of the event, based on community and family standards. When family
members can blame others, such as the police, courts, drug dealers, or associates for
the arrest, thereby externalizing the blame for the stressor event from a member
within the family to someone or something outside the family, the family members
status within the family can be preserved (Carlson & Cervera, 1992). Maintaining an
inmates fatherhood identity may depend upon his familys willingness to view his
incarceration as the responsibility of others.
33


A combination of personal and family strengths and societal supports may not
be sufficient to maintain the family unit if the fathers sentence is long. Holt and
Miller (1972) found that by the third year of incarceration fewer than one-quarter of
the wives were still visiting their husbands, an indicator that the marriages were
deteriorating. Carlson and Cervera (1992) theorize that the marriages that survive
incarceration are those that display various personal, family, and community
resources as well as the ability to externalize the blame for the stressor event.
Maintaining the parent-child relationship may also depend on other factors such as
family closeness prior to the incarceration, the relationship between father and the
childs caregiver, religious beliefs, social class background, and the suddenness of the
separation (Garmezy, 1986).
Vaux (1985) argued that, compared to white families, Black and Hispanic
families have stronger subcultural expectations of family aid that can help families of
inmates. In Girshicks (1996) study of predominately white women married to and
visiting inmate husbands, several experienced alienation from other family members
when they chose to try to maintain their marriages. Caregivers for children in African
American and Hispanic families and communities may be at an advantage in terms of
community and family support while being disadvantaged in many other areas (Vaux,
1985).
The majority of wives in both Fishmans (1990) and Girshicks (1996) studies
expressed traditional working class acceptance of gender roles. They generally were
34


expected to stay home with the children while their husbands functioned as decision-
makers, wage earners, and disciplinarians. When the husbands were imprisoned,
these wives were required to assume their husbands daily tasks and responsibilities,
roles that often were unfamiliar and uncomfortable (Fishman, 1990; Girschick, 1996).
Girshick (1996, p. 31) states the most common hardships reported by wives of
prisoners include loneliness, financial problems, disciplining children, adjusting to
role changes and concern for their husbands safety and well-being. Girshick (1996)
notes that these concerns were similar to those expressed by military wives in several
studies, but that unlike military wives, inmates wives live with the stigma of
husbands whose absences are due not to duty but to deviance.
Wives of inmates identified the stress of single parenthood as a significant
problem associated with the absence of a father figure (Fishman, 1990; Carlson &
Cervera, 1992; Daniel & Barrett, 1981). The wives, often left alone with little or no
support from families or others, were forced to confront the problems their children
were experiencing. In Fishmans (1990) study, the wives often reported lashing out
verbally and physically at their children when the stresses of childcare and multiple
anxieties became overwhelming.
The incarceration of a father who lived with or helped financially support the
family may also place increased burdens on the caregiver that result in inadequate
supervision of the children. Research findings indicates that children of single
mothers spend less time with their mothers, are not as well supervised, and receive
35


less encouragement them children from two-parent families (McLanahan & Sandefur,
1994). The decline in parental resources may be temporary after the onset of single
parenthood, but since these events may occur at critical developmental times in a
childs life, even though [a decline in parental resources] may last only for one or
two years, from the childs point of view it may last a lifetime (McLanahan &
Sandefur, 1994, p. 108).
Stigma and Shame
Goffman (1963, p. 30) describes courtesy stigma as the loss of status in the
community and the societal stigma suffered by the families of inmates due to their
association with one who is stigmatized. Fishman (1990) also notes that the
prisoners stigma extends to wives and families but that the extent of the stigma or
shame is dependent upon the type of crime for which the husband was incarcerated
and whether the current incarceration was the first or part of a pattern of
incarcerations. Stigma and shame can also be a problem for some children, but the
effects may be moderated by the family and subcultures experience with familial and
community arrest and incarceration and the nature of the parents crime (Johnson,
1995a). Johnston (1995a) notes that while prior studies based on examination of the
childrens caregivers identify stigma and shame as important issues for the children of
incarcerated parents, there is little direct evidence that stigma and shame play
significant roles in the lives of these children.
36


Separation Trauma
Physical and emotional separation from the incarcerated parent may be a
traumatic event for a child. Studies of father absence have identified multiple effects
of a traumatic separation on children left behind, including the development of
antisocial behaviors, early onset of offending, economic and psychological
difficulties, and problems in school, which are moderated by several variables that
include the age and gender of the child, the nature of the parent-child relationship
prior to separations, and characteristics of the family and community (Amato &
Gilbreth, 1999; Ellis et al., 2003; Florsheim, 2000; Gibson & Tibbetts, 2000; Jaffee et
al., 2003; Marshall et al., 2001; McLanahan & Teitler, 1998; Videon, 2002). The
children of incarcerated fathers, like children separated from their fathers for other
reasons, likely suffer varying levels of separation trauma, depending on the father-
child relationship prior to the arrest, the age and developmental stage of the child, the
sex of the child, the nature and number of prior separations, the nature and frequency
of contact, the childs knowledge of the parents criminal activity, the nature of the
community, the nature of the caregivers structural, emotional, and coping
capabilities, and the quality of care the childs caregiver is able to provide (Gabel,
1992; Johnson, 1995a).
When the separation is sudden, younger children may display acting-out
behaviors, anxiety states, aggression, or withdrawal, while older children often
exhibit signs of anger, sadness or grief, anxiety, and critical developmental tasks
37


impairment (Johnston, 1995a). Although many of the children of inmates likely have
led chaotic lives prior to parental incarceration, the subsequent trauma of separation
from the parent may exacerbate existing emotional and developmental challenges
(Johnston, 1995a). While some correctional authorities have speculated that the
attachments between incarcerated parents and their children are weak, little is known
about the nature of the parent-child bond in inmate families (Johnson, 1992; Johnson,
1993; Johnson, 1995a).
The majority of imprisoned fathers have little or no direct contact with their
children. Fathers who do not receive visits often identify transportation and escort
problems as the main reasons their children do not visit them (Gable and Johnston,
1995). In Hairstons (1989) study, twenty percent of the imprisoned fathers stated
that their children did not visit them because of opposition by the childrens mothers.
Other inmates reported that the lack of contact was the result of their own decision to
avoid having their children see them in powerless positions in a prison or jail setting
(Gable & Johnston, 1995; Hairston, 1998).
Visits in prison or jail settings can be difficult for both inmates and visiting
family members. In addition to problems associated with traveling long distances,
visits are generally brief and impersonal. Visiting facilities are designed to address
correctional concerns about the introduction of contraband into the jail or prison
setting and such facilities generally do not accommodate the needs of children and
parents (Carlson and Cervera, 1992).
38


Telephone calls can be used to maintain contact between the parent and child,
but the expense associated with long-distance collect calls prevents many inmates
from maintaining regular telephone contact with their children (Fishman, 1993).
Letter writing is often the primary method of communication between inmates and
their families and friends. However, when an inmate has poor writing skills, shame
and embarrassment may prevent the inmate from maintaining letter contact with
families (Carlson and Cervera, 1992). Letter communication is also difficult when
the child is young and cannot respond to the parent.
As part of a larger study in Great Britain, Boswell (2002) interviewed
seventeen children who were visiting their fathers at various prisons. Her findings
indicate that a wide range of reactions to paternal incarceration exist, apparently
dependent on a number of factors, including the age of the child, the prior relationship
with the father, and the nature of the crime. However, all of the children in Boswells
(2002) study saw their fathers incarceration as an event that profoundly affected
them. Loss, shame, hopes and fears for the future, the importance of maintaining
contact between the father and child, and the need for ongoing support from family,
friends, and schools were recurring themes (Boswell, 2002).
Risk Factors for Negative Outcomes for Children
Many studies have been conducted investigating different factors that are
associated with negative outcomes for children. Risk factors, such as exposure to
parental substance abuse, violence, parental mental illness, family instability, criminal
39


attitudes and behaviors, and family incarceration, have been linked to negative
outcomes for children such as substance abuse, mental health problems, failure in
school, deviant or criminal behaviors, and intergenerational incarceration. When
investigating the effects of paternal incarceration, other risk factors in addition to the
incarceration must be considered.
Exposure to Substance Abuse
Alcohol use, drug use, and polysubstance use is common among inmate
parents and often plays a significant role in paternal incarceration (Carlson &
Cervera, 1992; Fishman, 1990; Girschick, 1996; Hairston, 1995; Johnston, 1995a;
Mumola, 2000). While only 25% of the inmate fathers who participated in the 1997
BJS survey of inmate parents reported a history of alcohol dependence, over 37%
reported being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the offense for which they
were incarcerated (Mumola, 2000). Thirty-nine percent indicated they had gotten
into physical fights while under the effects of alcohol and 41% stated they had
engaged in binge drinking, defined as consuming the equivalent to 27 ounces of
liquor in one day (Mumola, 2000).
Nineteen percent of State inmate fathers reported committing their current
offense in order to obtain money to buy drugs and 33% identified themselves as being
under the influence of drugs when they committed their current offense (Mumola,
2000). Nineteen percent also admitted to intravenous drug use. These percentages
are very similar to drug use reported by nonparents inmates who also participated in
40


this survey. While these aggregated data do not tell us how many of the fathers who
were abusing or dependent on drugs or alcohol lived with or financially or
emotionally supported their children prior to their incarceration, it is apparent that
drug and alcohol use and abuse is common among inmate parents.
Parental substance abuse may contribute to incarceration but may also have
many other significant effects on the child and the parent-child relationship
independent of incarceration (Feig, 1998; McMahon & Luthar, 1998). Parental
substance abuse is often accompanied by multiple other risk factors that may affect
the child and the parent-child relationship. The complex interaction of multiple
variables may create difficulties when attempting to link substance abuse with later
behaviors displayed by children of substance abusers (Feig, 1998; McMahon &
Luthar, 1998).
Parental Alcohol Abuse
Children of alcoholics often display behaviors that include aggression,
anxiety, delinquency, depression, sleep disorders, and problems in school. However,
these characteristics are similar to those exhibited by children exposed to other types
of trauma (Johnson & Rolf, 1990). Sher, Walitzer, Wood, and Brent (1991) found
that the young adult children of alcoholic parents were significantly more likely to
exhibit alcohol and drug problems, higher levels of neuroticism and poor impulse
control, more psychiatric distress, lower academic achievement, and less verbal
ability than their counterparts who were not exposed to parental alcoholism. Chassin,
41


Pillow, Curran Molina and Barrera (1993) identified the effect of paternal alcoholism
on early substance use by adolescent children as resulting from decreased parental
monitoring and increased emotionality, which were associated with a greater
likelihood that adolescents would join a peer group that supported drug use behavior.
Studies of males with parental histories of substance abuse disorders,
including but not specific to alcohol, indicate that they are at increased risk of
developing social or psychological problems, including substance abuse disorders and
psychiatric diagnoses characterized by aggression, such as oppositional defiant
disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, and antisocial
personality disorder (Giancola, Mezzich, Clark, & Tarter, 1999). Both cognitive
distortions and aggressive behavior have been linked to later drug use by children of
parents with substance abuse disorders (Giancola et al., 1999; Giancola, Martin,
Tarter, Pelham, & Moss, 1996). Cognitive distortions that resulted in inaccurate
attributions regarding the intentions of others were positively related to
undersocialization, aggression, and the commission of violent crimes by highly
aggressive male juvenile children of parents with substance abuse disorders (Dodge,
Price, Bachorowski, & Newman, 1990). However, as Giancola et al. (1999) argue, a
family history of substance abuse disorders, in and of itself, is not a risk factor that
predisposes children to develop substance abuse disorders themselves. It is more
likely that the family history of substance abuse disorders creates conditions, such as
an environment of aggression, a lack of family cohesiveness, and maladaptive
42


cognitive functioning, that serve as risk factors for the later development of substance
abuse disorders in the children of substance-abusing parents (Giancola et al., 1999).
Johnson and Leff (1999) suggest that the environment in which the children of
alcoholic parents are reared is characterized by a lack of effective parenting, poor
home management, a lack of family communication skills, and poor modeling and
training on parenting skills and communication. Other family problems frequently
associated with alcoholic families include increased family conflict, emotional or
physical violence, decreased family cohesion, decreased family organization,
increased family isolation, frequent family moves, increased family stress, illness,
marital strain, and financial problems (Johnson & Leff, 1999). In addition to an
inability to provide a structured environment for their children, alcoholic parents
often lack the ability to provide appropriate discipline and often expect their children
to be competent in areas beyond their ability at a young age (Johnson & Leff, 1999).
Although children of alcoholic parents are often placed in a position of parental
responsibility of caring for younger siblings, and, at times, the parent himself or
herself, parentification may or may not be a demonstration of maladaptive behavior
on the part of the child. Walker and Lee (1998) found that parentified children of
alcoholics who have an emotionally supportive relationships with a nonalcoholic
parent may be less likely to develop substance abuse problems themselves in the
future.
43


Jacob, Wendel, Seilhemer, and Bost (1999) state that several studies of young
adults exposed to parental alcoholism have demonstrated higher levels of cognitive,
behavioral, and interpersonal impairments as indicated by impulsive or poorly
controlled behavior, failure in school, association with deviant peers, and antisocial or
delinquent behaviors. Finn, Sharkansky, Brandt, & Turcotte (2000) linked the
frequently observed tendencies of the children of alcoholics to display aggressive
behaviors, problems with authority, unreliability, and substance abuse to an inability
to regulate behavior in response to social norms and an increased level of excitement
and pleasure seeking. Their research suggests that deviance-prone individuals have
difficulties in learning to control their actions because they have fundamental deficits
in their ability to appropriately regulate their behavior (Finn et al., 2000).
Children growing up with one or more alcoholic parent are also more likely to
have unpredictable home lives and are at increased risk for a variety of adverse
childhood experiences, including abuse and neglect, witnessing domestic violence,
exposure to criminal activity, and exposure to drug-abusing, mentally ill, or suicidal
family members (Anda, Whitfield, Felitti, Chapman, Edwards, Dube, & Williamson,
2002). Anda et al. (2002) found that as the number of adverse childhood experiences
increased for children of alcoholics, the risk for future alcoholism and/or depression
also increased. Rather than a direct cause and effect relationship between parental
alcoholism and the substance abuse and depression in the child, Anda et al. (2002)
argue that the observed higher frequencies of these characteristics in the children of
44


alcoholics is linked primarily to the greater likelihood of exposure to other adverse
childhood experiences as the result of living with alcohol-abusing parents. Exposure
to parental pathology, child abuse, family dysfunction, and other traumatic childhood
events, often linked to parental alcoholism, may interact and contribute to the
increased risk of negative outcomes for the children of alcoholic parents (Harter,
2000).
Studies also suggest that other variables, such as socioeconomic status, gender
of the offspring, characteristics of the family environment, and maternal or paternal
personality or psychiatric characteristics, may serve as moderators to the effects of
parental alcohol abuse (Jacob et al., 1999). Although children of alcoholics appear at
increased risk for a variety of negative outcomes, none of the outcomes are observed
in all children whose parents abuse alcohol nor are any specific to just the children of
alcoholics. The differences observed in the outcomes for children of alcoholics may
be partially explained by such moderating factors. Since the children of incarcerated
fathers may be more likely to live in families facing financial deprivation, family
instability, and higher levels of parental personality disorders or mental illness, the
effects of parental alcoholism on the children of incarcerated parents may be more
likely to be intensified by other characteristics of their families and less likely to be
diminished by protective factors.
45


Parental Drug Abuse
Although the extensive literature on alcoholism provides information about
the children of alcoholic parents, there is comparatively little in the literature that
identifies the characteristics of the children of drug abusers and the risk factors they
face. The primary research focus on children of drug-abusing parents has been on the
effects of fetal exposure to maternal drug use. Although relatively little is known
about the children of heroin addicts, cocaine abusers, or polydrug users, many
researchers propose that the children of parents addicted to drugs other than alcohol
are also at greater risk for later antisocial behaviors and intergenerational substance
abuse (Johnson and Leff, 1999).
Studies of the children of drug-dependent parents indicate that they are at a
heightened risk of adolescent drug use, abuse, and dependence (Miles, Stallings,
Young, Hewitt, Crowley, & Fulker, 1998). While many adolescents experiment with
drugs, few develop serious problems with abuse or dependence. In a longitudinal
study investigating whether psychosocial and interpersonal factors affect the
association between the parental psychoactive substance use disorder (PSUD) and
adolescent substance abuse, Hoffman and Cerbone (2002), found that while PSUD
was positively associated with adolescent drug abuse, the association was weakened
by strong family cohesion. However, the effects of parental substance abuse may be
amplified if a family has a history of both drug abuse and an inability to provide a
sufficient level of family support and structure for the child.
46


Polysubstance abusers, those individuals who may abuse a drug of choice but
who also abuse at least one other drug, have often been identified by treatment and
criminal justice professionals as overrepresented in the correctional population
(Johnson & Rolf, 1990). Polysubstance abusers have especially high levels of
impulsivity and sensation seeking, lack of restraint, and tendencies toward social
deviation (Conway, Kane, Ball, Poling, & Rounsaville, 2003). Conway et al. (2003),
in a study of personality disorders and substance abuse, found that individuals who
abused more them one substance did not significantly differ from single-substance
abusers on such variables as education, age, and history of marriage, but were
significantly different on mental health and personality disorder diagnoses. Persons
who abused more than one substance were more likely to suffer from affective
disorders, such as a major depressive disorder, dysthymia, or bipolar disorder; anxiety
disorders, such as agoraphobia, social phobias, simple phobias, or obsessive-
compulsive disorder; or personality disorders, such as antisocial, narcissistic,
histrionic, or borderline personality disorders (Conway et al., 2003). In addition, a
study on treatment for cocaine- and alcohol-dependent individuals suggested that
these polysubstance abusers may be more resistant to treatment than individuals who
are addicted to cocaine or alcohol alone (Brady, Sonne, Randall, Adinoff, &
Malcolm, 1995).
The focus of the research on polysubstance abusers has been on the abusers
themselves while little is known about the effects on children of parental
47


polysubstance abuse. However, since polysubstance abusers may be more resistant to
treatment and may be more likely to suffer from mental illnesses or personality
disorders, the children of polysubstance abusers may be at increased risk for exposure
to additional risk factors. Since polysubstance abuse is common in the incarcerated
population, the children of incarcerated parents who also abuse multiple substances
may face additional challenges.
Exposure to Family Violence
While little direct evidence exists that male inmates engage in violence within
their families at a greater rate than the general population, indirect evidence suggests
that many male offenders may have a history of family violence (Dutton & Hart,
1992). Empirical evidence also suggests a link between high levels of domestic
violence and disadvantaged communities based on weak social bonds, high levels of
isolation, lax law enforcement, and the stresses of living in poverty-stricken and
socially-fragmented areas (Benson, Fox, DeMaris, & Van Wyk, 2000). Since
anecdotal reports by inmate families frequently reference high levels of family
violence, it is necessary to consider that some children of incarcerated fathers may
have been exposed to family violence prior to, during, or after incarceration.
Many children exposed to family violence display negative behavioral
characteristics, often attributed to the effects of exposure to violence. Children who
are direct victims of child abuse, who are exposed to interpersonal violence between
parental figures, or who are exposed to other forms of family violence such as sibling
48


abuse, are more likely to have significantly higher levels of psychological, behavioral
and social problems, and difficulty in school than children not exposed to family
violence (Bolger & Patterson, 2004; English, Marshall, & Stewart, 2003). Since
partner violence and child abuse frequently co-occur, many children who witness
domestic violence are also direct victims of violence (Margolin, 1998). However,
few studies have attempted to isolate the effects on children of direct victimization
from the effects of witnessing the victimization of others. Sternberg, Lamb,
Greenbaum, Cicchetti, Dawud, Cortes, Krispin, and Lorey (1993) found few
differences in the increased behavioral problems and levels of aggression between
those children who witnessed violence, those who were direct victims of violence,
and those who were both witnesses and victims.
Exposure to family violence is likely to be a traumatic event in childrens
lives that can contribute to trauma-reactive behaviors, such as aggression, withdrawal
and depression, concentration and attention problems, antisocial behavior, anxiety
states, and increased likelihood of delinquent behaviors in adolescents and juveniles
(Echlin & Marshall, 1995; Graham-Bermann & Edelson, 2001; Holden, 1998; Kemic,
Wolf, Holt, McKnight, Huebner, & Rivara, 2003; Loeber & Stouthamer-Loeber,
1986; McDonald, Jouriles, Norwood, Ware, & Ezell, 2000; Osofsky, 1998;
Thomberry, 1994). The effects of exposure to family violence, like exposure to
parental substance abuse, may be moderated by other mediating factors. The childs
developmental stage and gender, the nature, intensity, and frequency of the violence,
49


coping skills of the child and other family members, subcultural and community
violence and norms, levels of social and/or family support, and the time since the last
exposure to violence, may lessen or intensify the effects of exposure to family
violence (Carlson, 2000; Muller, Goebel-Fabbri, Diamond, and Dinklage, 2000;
Edleson, 1999; Graham-Bermann, 1998; Hughes, Parkinson, & Vargo, 1989 ).
Children who are exposed to familial violence may also be forced to confront
ambivalent feelings about their mothers and fathers. Smith, Berthelsen, and
OConnor (1997), in interviews with children exposed to high levels of family
violence, found a common theme of conflicting perceptions of violent parents,
especially violent fathers. Some children reported anxiety about and being terrified
of the violence while, at the same time, also expressing feeling of love for their
fathers (Smith et al., 1997). In a study of 8- to 12-year old children of violent fathers,
Sternberg, Lamb, Greenbaum, Dawud, Cortes, and Lorey (1994) stated that children,
especially boys, who have been physically abused by their fathers often have
ambivalent feelings toward their fathers. While these children reported negative
characteristics of their fathers, they also reported as many positive characteristics as
did the comparison children who were not physically abused by their fathers
(Sternberg et al., 1994).
Many of the studies of children who witness domestic violence is limited in its
generalizability by methodological problems that include research subjects who
primarily are living in battered womens shelters and who may differ on several
50


important variables from domestic violence victims not living in shelters, reliance on
maternal reports of effects on children rather than on direct observations of the
behaviors of the children, and small sample sizes (Carlson, 2000, Yexley, Borowsky,
& Ireland, 2002). Despite these research limitations, domestic violence appears to
correlate consistently with problem behaviors observed in child witnesses of family
violence. The developmental stage of the child also seems to be a significant factor in
the associated behaviors. Younger children often are fearful and anxious, may
display aggressive behaviors, are likely to be highly active and are often diagnosed
with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and may have problems interacting
with peers and adults (Fantuzzo, DePaola, Lambert, Martino, Anderson, & Sutton,
1991; Laumakis, Margolin, & John, 1998 ). School-aged children may be aggressive
and display violent tendencies, may exhibit conduct problems, may be fearful and
anxious, and may have problems in school (Copping, 1996; Graham-Berman, 1998;
Jouriles, Norwood, McDonald, Vincent, & Mahoney, 1996). Adolescents may
engage in dating violence and other forms of aggression and violence, may be
delinquent, may be depressed or suicidal, and may abuse substances (Graham-
Berman, 1998; Jouriles, et al., 1996; Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Monson, Meyer,
Caster, & Sanders, 1998, Yexley et al., 2002).
The children of men who abuse their intimate partners may also be at risk for
exposure to fathers whose parenting style is significantly harsher than children of men
who do not abuse their partners. In a study that utilized data from the National
51


Survey of Families and Households, Fox and Benson (2004) found that while men
who are violent with their domestic partners did not differ significantly in the amount
of time they spent with their children, they viewed their children, even young
children, in more negative terms and were more likely to use harsh parenting tactics,
such as yelling and corporal punishment, than fathers who were not violent with their
partners. Other studies of primarily clinical populations have found a significant risk
that partner abuse and child abuse will co-occur (Holden & Barker, 2004).
In a study of children referred for clinical services, Jouriles and Norwood
(1995) reported that fathers who are physically abusive with their domestic partners
physically abuse their sons more often than their daughters. Cummings, Pepler, and
Moore (1999) found that male domestic violence perpetrators were more verbally
aggressive with their daughters than with their sons. Holden and Barker (2004) state
that an interaction effect has been observed by multiple researchers who have found
that fathers are more likely to physically abuse their sons and mothers more likely to
abuse their daughters.
Much of the research into exposure to family violence suggests long-term
effects of such exposure. However, Higgins and McCabe (2001) state that many
studies that attempt to link negative adult outcomes with childhood exposure to
violence are methodologically flawed by the use of vague definitions that do not
capture the severity of abuse, by failing to account for multiple forms of abuse and
exposure to other traumatizing events, and by the use of convenience samples that
52


frequently focus on women in clinical settings or college students. While researchers
have consistently found higher levels of negative outcomes for adults who
experienced varying types of severe childhood maltreatment, there has been little
empirical evidence that identifies the overlap of types of maltreatment and the
relationship between such overlap and long-term adult adjustment (Higgins &
McCabe, 2000a).
Higgins and McCabe (2001, p. 548) discuss the effects of exposure to multi-
type maltreatment and argue that the co-morbidity of various types of maltreatment
may have a cumulative or interactive effect. In a community sample of 175 male and
female respondents not selected on their basis of a history of maltreatment, Higgins
and McCabe (2000b) found a high degree of overlap between adults reports of
sexual abuse, physical abuse, psychological maltreatment, neglect, and witnessing
family violence. Although the strongest correlation was between psychological
maltreatment and physical abuse, significant correlations between all types of abuse
indicated that rather than occurring in isolation, multiple forms of family violence
often occur together (Higgins & McCabe, 2000b).
In a study that attempted to address some of the methodological challenges of
many previous studies, Edwards, Holden, Felitti, and Anda (2003) conducted a
retrospective study using a large sample of adults in a community HMO setting.
Although there were also methodological problems with this study that included the
inability to verify abuse, the inability to determine the severity of abuse, and the
53


underrepresentation of minorities, younger individuals, and persons without access to
quality health care, Edwards et al. (2003) reported that 21.6%, 20.6%, and 14% of the
respondents stated they were exposed to childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, and
witnessing maternal battering, respectively. Over one-third of those reporting
exposure to abuse and maternal battering reported exposure to multiple forms of
abuse. An important finding of this study was that of a dose-response relationship
between the exposure to abuse and mental health scores: as the number of forms of
abuse increased, mental health scores decreased, indicating increased levels of mental
health problems in those who were exposed to more types of abuse (Edwards et al.,
2003).
Exposure to Community Violence
Exposure to community violence may also be viewed as one of many risk
factors that children growing up in disadvantaged communities face. In addition to
high levels of community violence, disadvantaged communities often also have high
levels of family violence (Benson et al., Morrison, 2000). As a result, children
growing up in disadvantaged communities may be exposed to multiple types of
violence.
Elementary school-aged and younger children exposed to chronic community
violence, such as frequent and continual exposure to the use of guns, knives, and
random violence resulting in assaults, homicides, and funerals, often experience high
levels of anxiety, sleep disturbances, difficulty paying attention in school, and
54


symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Osofsky, 1995). However, the effects
of exposure to community violence on young children are likely moderated by several
factors, including having a supportive person in the environment, having a safe haven
within the neighborhood that provides protection from violence, and having
individual resources, such as an adaptable temperament, that allows for alternative
ways of coping with violence (Osofsky, 1995).
Older children may experience community violence differently from younger
children. School-aged and adolescent children exposed to community violence
frequently display depression, low self esteem, low social competence, poor school
performance, and are at heightened risk for displaying trauma-related symptoms,
antisocial criminal behavior, aggression, and risk-taking, especially if exposure to
community violence is in addition to exposure to domestic violence, direct violent
victimization, and association with criminal peers (Eitle & Turner, 2002, Morrison,
2000). Exposure to community violence has also been implicated in future antisocial
behavior in urban male adolescents, regardless of whether there were high or low
levels of family conflict within their homes (Miller, Wasserman, Neugebauer,
Gorman-Smith, & Kamboukos, 1999). While social support appears to buffer the
effects of exposure to domestic violence for older children, it does not effectively
lessen the maladaptive effects of exposure to community violence (Muller et al.,
2000).
55


Exposure to Parental Mental Illness
Mental illness, defined in the 1997 BJS survey of State and Federal inmates as
a current mental or emotional condition or an overnight stay in a mental hospital or
treatment program, was more common among inmate mothers than inmate fathers
and more common among State inmate parents than among Federal inmate parents
(Mumola, 2000). A significant percentage of inmate parents reported histories of
mental illness: 13% of the State inmate fathers and 23% of the State inmate mothers
identified themselves as mentally ill while 6% of Federal inmates fathers and 10% of
Federal inmate mothers reported a history of mental illness. In general, slightly more
than one-half of the inmate parents in both systems who reported a mental illness
stated that they had spent at least one night in a mental hospital or treatment program,
indicating a mental disorder that was not effectively controlled in the community
(Mumola, 2000).
While the majority of inmate parents in this survey did not indicate they were
suffering from any form of mental illness, it is likely that an unknown number of
these individuals may have also met the criteria for various mental illnesses but had
been neither diagnosed with a mental illness nor had spent time in a mental hospital
or treatment program. Individuals with psychiatric disorders in racial and ethnic
minorities and individuals in low SES groups consistently fail to be accurately
identified as suffering from mental illnesses (Dohrenwend, 2000). The data collected
in the 1997 BJS survey also do not indicate the types of mental illnesses that inmate
56


parents reported. Since the behaviors associated with various forms of mental illness
vary widely, it is impossible to identify the potential effects of parental mental illness
on the children of mentally-ill incarcerated parents.
The research focus on parental mental illness has predominately concentrated
on mothers suffering from severe mental illnesses and the effects of their illness on
their children: little is known about mentally ill fathers and their children (Nicholson,
Nason, Calabres, & Yando, 1999). In a large national study that identified the
prevalence of parenthood in mentally ill individuals, Nicholson, Biebel, Katz-Leavy,
and Williams (2004) found that males with serious and persistent mental illnesses
were significantly more likely to be fathers than those who were neither mentally ill
nor who suffered from substance abuse disorders. While the authors of this study did
not identify why mentally ill men are more likely to be fathers, it may be that
individuals suffering from mental illnesses may be more impulsive and less likely to
plan for the future than men who are not mentally ill.
Like the children of parents with severe substance abuse or dependency, the
children of mentally ill fathers may be exposed to multiple other risk factors.
Outcomes for children of mentally ill fathers are likely to vary widely, depending on
moderating factors such as characteristics of the mental illness, effectiveness and
availability of treatment, and the nature of relationships within the family. However,
environmental stressors such as poverty, low parental educational levels, and minority
57


status increase the likelihood of negative outcomes for the children of mentally ill
parents (Nicholson et al., 2004)
In a systematic review of 62 surveys of male prisoners from 12 countries,
Fazel and Danesh (2002) found that 3.7% of the men reported having been diagnosed
with a psychotic illness, 10% with major depression, and 65% with a personality
disorder, the majority of which, 45%, were diagnosed with Antisocial Personality
Disorder (ASPD). Individuals diagnosed with ASPD are significantly
overrepresented in correctional systems: ASPD occurs in only 3% of men and 1% of
women in community samples (American Psychiatric Association, 2002). However,
personality disorders are Axis II disorders that are considered to be maladaptive
responses and possible defense mechanisms rather than Axis I clinical disorders such
as schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, which represent serious and persistent mental
illness (American Psychiatric Association, 2002).
The DSM-IV TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2002, p. 706) identify
criteria that must be present for individuals to be diagnosed with ASPD, one of which
is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring
since age 15 years... The behaviors that are used to identify this criterion include
failure to conform to social norms, deceitfulness, impulsivity, aggressiveness,
disregard for the safety of others or oneself, consistent irresponsibility, and lack of
remorse. While there has been disagreement over the accepted definitions and causes
of antisocial behavior, studies utilizing psychiatric definitions of antisocial disorders
58


identify a link between parent and child antisocial behaviors (Frick & Loney, 2002)
A consistent pattern of Conduct Disorder (CD), the generally accepted childhood and
adolescent precursor to ASPD, is seen in the children of individuals diagnosed with
ASPD (Frick & Loney, 2002).
Children diagnosed with CD exhibit persistent and repetitive patterns of
behavior that violate social norms and result in significant problems in school or work
and include aggression directed toward people and animals, destruction of property,
deceitfulness, or theft (American Psychiatric Association, 2002). While the majority
of children diagnosed with CD become socially adjusted by adulthood, a significant
percentage, especially when onset of symptoms are prior to the age of 10, will
continue to show patterns of antisocial behaviors into adulthood that meet the criteria
for ASPD (American Psychiatric Association, 2002). Children of men who are
sentenced to prison, especially those fathers who meet the criteria for an ASPD
diagnosis, may be at increased risk for exhibiting behaviors and attitudes that meet
the diagnostic criteria for CD and later ASPD, which, is turn, is highly correlated with
in an increased risk for incarceration.
Exposure to Family Instability
Family instability has been conceptualized by various researchers as an
aggregate of variables that affect the daily continuity and cohesiveness of family life
and that result in a chronically chaotic lifestyle (Ackerman, Kogos, Youngstrom,
Schaff, & Izard, 1999). Indicators of family instability include residential mobility;
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the number of intimate adult relationships involving the primary caregiver; the
number of family members with whom a child has lived; serious childhood illnesses;
and other negative life events such as the death or prolonged absence of family
members (Ackerman et al., 1999). Other conceptualizations of family instability
include divorce or separation; remarriage or the arrival of a new partner; temporary
parent-child separation; birth of a sibling or the arrival of a new child, such as a
stepsibling in the home; and parental job loss or change of employment that results in
a significant change in the number of hours spent at work (Cavanagh & Huston,
2000). When other at-risk variables are controlled, family instability has been
consistently linked to both internalizing problem behaviors, such as substance abuse
and suicide ideation, and externalizing problem behaviors, such as oppositional
behavior and aggression (Ackerman et al., 1999; Cavanagh & Huston, 2000; Milan &
Pinderhughes, 2006) and an increased risk for adolescent psychological problems
(Forman & Davies, 2003). However, moderating factors such as material and
emotional resources may buffer the effects of family instability (Cavanagh & Huston
(2000)
While residential instability has been identified as a variable used to measure
family instability, identifying residential instability as a risk factor by itself may be
problematic and misleading. Poverty-stricken families may remain in one location
for many years in substandard housing in high-crime areas. Children whose parents
move frequently as the result of military service or job-related relocations may
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frequently change residences but may experience higher levels of family stability than
their residential instability might indicate. Nonetheless, residential instability may
create other challenges for children. Residential moves may break the friendship ties
that children have within their schools and communities (Cavanagh & Huston, 2000).
Children who experience residential changes that are accompanied by other changes
in the family structure and functioning are likely to be at increased risk for problems
in school and maladaptive adjustment (Ackerman et al., 1999).
Exposure to Criminal Activity and Familial Incarceration
The frequently noted phenomenon of intergenerational incarceration has long
been recognized by both criminal justice scholars and society as a whole (Glueck &
Glueck, 1950; Farrington, Gundry, & West, 1975; Osborn & West, 1979, Rowe &
Farrington, 1997). While many studies have identified intergenerational and familial
incarceration as common, data are not routinely collected on family members of
incarcerated persons that could provide conclusive information about familial
incarceration. Disentangling the effects of paternal incarceration from the plethora of
other risk factors that are common among incarcerated populations, such as poverty,
poor parental supervision, parental criminality, failure in school, lack of legitimate
opportunities, drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, and influence of criminal or
delinquent peers, is difficult. Combined with the lack of data and the difficulty in
identifying potential study participants, these research challenges have prevented a
systematic investigation of the issues surrounding intergenerational incarceration.
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Studies of familial incarceration outside of the United States have established
strong links between incarceration of family members and the likelihood of
delinquency in adolescent males. As early as 1952, Ferguson (1952) demonstrated
that the percentage of juveniles convicted of crimes increased with each additional
convicted family member. Other British researchers have also found that convictions
and incarceration often run in families (Farrington, 1995; West & Farrington, 1977).
Suggested reasons for the lack of such studies of familial incarceration in the United
States include the difficulty in adequately searching criminal records due to the
fragmented nature of the American criminal justice system, the mobility of the
American population, and the blending of many families that make it difficult to
identify family members (Farrington, Jolliffe, Loeber, Stouthamer-Loeber, & Kalb,
2001).
Despite the difficulties of conducting familial criminality research in the
United States and the limitations of such studies, Farrington et al. (2001) found that
arrestees were highly concentrated in families and that arrested family members
frequently included parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. In a
longitudinal study of boys in Pittsburgh, the authors found that 8% of all families in
the study accounted for 43% of all arrested persons, an average of five arrested
persons per family (Farrington et al., 2001). While the arrest of one member of a
family increased the likelihood of another family members arrest, the fathers arrest
predicted the boys delinquency independent of arrests of any other relative
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(Farrinton et al., 2001). Farrington et al. (2001) offer suggestions to explain the small
percentage of families accounting for a large percentage of arrests that include
poverty and disadvantaged communities, poor parenting practices, and sexual
partners who tend to be similar in their antisocial attitudes and behaviors and may
thus produce children who are disproportionately raised in antisocial environments.
Patterson, Reid, and Dishion (1992), in a longitudinal study in Oregon of the
development of antisocial behavior in boys, examined relationships among the
variables that contribute to antisocial behavior and delinquency, including antisocial
parents, social disadvantage, academic failure, deviant peers, and ineffective
parenting. One of the issues addressed in this research is the identification of which
families are most likely to fail in their efforts to control antisocial behavior. While
the focus of this research is on parenting practices and attempts to control antisocial
behavior rather than on the identification of how antisocial parents transmit their
attitudes and beliefs to their children, the authors note that children raised in
households in which adherence to conventional values and norms are absent are likely
to adopt the values and norms of their caregivers and that parents who are aggressive
and engage in criminal lifestyles model these behaviors for their children (Patterson,
et al, 1992).
Childhood Adversity
Childhood adversity, in its many forms, has consistently been linked to higher
levels of negative outcomes for adults (Dohrenwend, 2000). Dohrenwends (2000, p.
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14) theoretical perspective proposes that the wider environment, including advantages
or disadvantages that result from gender, racial or ethnic status, and the SES in which
a child is raised, affects the ongoing situation, the state of normality for that
individual. The combination of the wider environment and the ongoing situation
interacts with the individuals personal predisposition, the occurrence of negative life
events, the individuals appraisal of the events, and the individuals coping
mechanisms, which in turn leads to either adaptive or maladaptive responses to
negative life events. Similar to Carlson and Cerveras (1992, p. 19) pile-up of
negative circumstances, Dohrenwends (2000) theoretical perspective of childhood
adversity implies that the children of incarcerated fathers may be at additional risk for
maladaptive outcomes if their wider environment places them at an initial
disadvantage and if their ongoing situation and personal predispositions do not
provide them with the support and ability to cope with negative life events.
Chapman, Whitfield, Felitti, Dube, Edwards, and Anda (2004), in a large
community health study, investigated the link between adverse childhood
experiences, defined as childhood emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, exposure to
battering of the mother figure, household substance abuse, parental separation or
divorce, family incarceration, and mental illness in the household, and the prevalence
of a major depressive disorder. The findings included a strong graded relationship
between the number of adverse childhood experiences and lifetime depressive
disorders for both men and women, suggesting multiple forms of abuse or household
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dysfunction during childhood may be significant risk factors for later negative mental
health outcomes in adulthood (Chapman et al., 2004). While this study did not
identify which adverse childhood experiences were the strongest predictors of
lifetime depressive disorders, the identification of a positive correlation between the
of number of exposures to adverse childhood experience and likelihood of major
depressive disorders was significant.
In addition to an increased risk for negative psychological outcomes, Felitti,
Anda, Nordenberg, Williamson, Spitz, Edwards, Koss, and Marks (1998), in a large
community study that investigated the relationship between health risk behaviors and
disease in adulthood and the exposure to childhood emotional, physical, or sexual
abuse and household dysfunction, found a strong graded relationship between the
breadth of exposure to family dysfunction and childhood maltreatment and multiple
risk factors for several of the leading causes of death in adults. Seven categories of
adverse childhood exposures where identified: measures of childhood abuse included
questions about psychological abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse while
categories of household dysfunction included questions regarding exposure to
substance abuse, exposure to mental illness, violent treatment of the mother figure,
and family imprisonment. As the number of childhood exposures increased, both
risky behaviors such as smoking, alcoholism, use of illicit drugs, injection of illicit
drugs, having fifty or more sexual partners, and the prevalence of severe obesity,
depressed mood, suicide attempts, and a history of sexually transmitted diseases
65


increased (Felitti et al., 1998). Felitti et al. (1998) also found a significant
relationship between the number of childhood exposures and many of the leading
causes of death, including heart disease, cancer, chronic bronchitis or emphysema,
and a history of hepatitis.
Conclusion
In general, the psychological, criminal justice, and child welfare literature all
imply that the children of incarcerated fathers are likely at high risk for negative
outcomes from exposure to multiple risk factors before the incarceration of the father.
However, the research findings tell us little about the lives of these children prior to
and after the incarceration of the fathers and how these children are affected, if at all,
by the imprisonment of their fathers. While there are many theories that seek to
explain the development and persistence of delinquent and criminal behaviors, many
point to the parent-child relationship as central to the process.
It is generally acknowledged that children who grow up in families and
communities where law-breaking and incarceration are the norm are at increased risk
to become involved in the criminal justice system. However, theory development and
explanatory research that establishes the causal path by which this process takes place
has yet to be undertaken. While parental incarceration appears to be a significant risk
factor for later negative outcomes for children, the process by which incarcerated
fathers influence their children has not been identified.
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Researchers face significant difficulties when attempting to conduct research
with this population. Identifying and sampling children who are not involved in
social service agencies or the criminal justice system is a challenge. Identifying and
isolating the roles multiple variables play in the development of negative outcomes
and establishing the causal pathways by which some children follow in their fathers
footsteps is well beyond the our current capabilities. At this point in the development
of theories related to the effects of paternal incarceration, we must first improve our
understanding of the life experiences of the children of incarcerated fathers and the
nature of the parent-child relationship in order to recognize how, and if, such factors
place some children at high risk for future involvement in the criminal justice system.
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CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY
A review of the literature that directly or peripherally concerns the children of
incarcerated fathers provides insights into possible effects of paternal incarceration
and additional risk factors to which these children might be exposed. Such a review,
however, raises more questions than it answers. Speculation about the response of
children to paternal incarceration abounds, but very little empirical evidence from
research directly focused on the children themselves is available. Without studies
that investigate the perceptions of the children who have lived with fathers who went
to prison, rather than the perceptions of incarcerated fathers or the childrens
caregivers, we have an incomplete picture of how children might respond to paternal
incarceration and the role it might play in the lives of these children.
Since theory development regarding the children of incarcerated fathers is in
its infancy, research design options are limited. If the focus of the research is on
expanding our understanding how children of incarcerated fathers themselves view
the effects of their fathers imprisonment, exploratory ethnographic research methods
that use qualitative data and data collection methods are appropriate. While
ethnography has traditionally referred to field research that includes participatory
methods, the term has also been applied to one-time intensive interviews in which the
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researcher seeks to understand the subjective reality of the participants rather than the
objective nature of historical events (Becker, 1996). The focus of such ethnographic
research is to interpret the meaning that respondents give to events in their lives and
to disseminate these meanings to a larger audience (Becker, 1996).
The use of a subjective oral history is also an appropriate way to provide a
voice for largely ignored or forgotten groups and individuals (Fontana & Frey, 1994).
As members of a subpopulation that has traditionally been overlooked, the children of
incarcerated fathers are invisible and silent. By providing them a voice through the
use of subjective oral life histories that allow for a glimpse into their world, we may
obtain a more complete understanding of how they interpret events in their lives and
how they perceive that these events have affected them.
The details in such accounts are unable to be confirmed and methodological
concerns surrounding the reliability of unverifiable retrospective accounts abound.
While an autobiographical narrative may represent the subjective reality of the
narrator, it may also not accurately reflect actual historical events. Rather than
recalling events as they happened, narrators selectively recall events that hold
continued importance and tell stories of their past that make sense to them (Burr &
Butt, 2000). However, if the focus of the research is on how individuals interpret
events in order to provide meaning for their lives, the factual basis for their stories
may be of lesser concern.
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Formulating a Research Design
Grounded theory, as first described by Glaser and Strauss (1967), is a means
of using social science data to discover theory. The original concept of grounded
theory was of the researcher beginning an area of study without a preconceived
theory or an extensive knowledge of the phenomenon of interest and allowing the
theory to emerge from the data. However, the concept of grounded theory has
evolved over time. Researchers, according to Glaser (1978), are best served by
having a partial understanding of general concepts but not well served by conducting
an extensive review of the literature prior to beginning their study. The literature
review should be used to gain an overall understanding once the phenomenon of
interest has been identified through data collection and analysis. Theory generation
thus evolves from observations, supplemented at a later date by a thorough
knowledge of the literature.
While grounded theory still is at the heart of inductive research, the use of a
literature review prior to data collection has gained acceptance among some
proponents of grounded theory (Strauss, 1987; Strauss & Corbin, 1990). However,
the literature review should not be so extensive that a theory arises from the literature
review rather than from the data themselves. Strauss and Corbins (1990) approach
involves using the literature to identify the phenomenon of interest rather than
allowing the phenomenon to emerge from the data. Although this approach differs
significantly from Glasers (1978) conceptualization of grounded theory, since the
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children of incarcerated fathers are likely exposed to many other confounding factors
that might also be used to explain outcomes, I felt it was important to conduct an
extensive literature review of other possible risk factors prior to starting my research.
In addition, since I have worked with individuals in my target population in the past, I
was likely tainted by my experiences from a pure grounded theory perspective.
Therefore, I used a more structured approach prior to beginning my data collection
than that proposed by Glaser (1978).
Research Theory
Denzin (2001) argues that the first step in formulating a qualitative research
project is framing the research issue, which starts with conceptualizing the
phenomenon of interest. Denzin (2001, p. 72) states The question that the researcher
frames must be a how question and not a why question. Interpretive studies examine
how problematic, turning-point experiences are organized, perceived, constructed,
and given meaning by interacting individuals. In this process, the researcher seeks
out subjects who elaborate and further define the problem under investigation
(Denzin, 2001). Since the experts on the lives of the children of incarcerated fathers
are the children themselves, they are the natural source for information about their
lives and the role paternal incarceration played in their lives.
The second stage in framing a research issue is acquiring a thorough
understanding of how the phenomenon has been studied and presented in the past,
including the preconceptions and biases that surround the existing understanding
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(Denzin, 2001). The literature that addresses the incarceration of parental figures is
filled with conjecture on the effects of parental incarceration. However, much of
what is presented is from the perspective of the incarcerated parent or the childrens
caregivers and may represent biases that do not accurately portray how the children of
incarcerated fathers themselves view the effects of these events.
The third stage, capturing the phenomenon of interest, involves securing
multiple cases and personal histories that embody the phenomenon in
question.. .locating the crises and epiphanies of the lives of the persons being
studied...[and] obtaining multiple personal experience stories...from the subjects in
question concerning the topic or topics under investigation (Denzin 2001, p. 76).
Lengthy and intensive interviews with individuals who are intimately familiar with
the topic under investigation should provide data that can enhance our understanding
of the phenomenon of interest.
Although qualitative research is a reiterative theory-building exercise (Miles
& Huberman, 1994), theory guides the research from its inception (Vaughan, 1992).
Vaughan (1992, p. 175) states:
We analyze the cases sequentially. We treat each case independently
of others, respecting its uniqueness so that the idiosyncratic details can
maximize our theoretical insight. As the analysis proceeds, the
guiding theoretical notions are assessed in the light of the
findings...[T]he data can contradict or reveal previously unseen
inadequacies in the theoretical notions guiding the research, providing
a basis for reassessment or rejection; the data can confirm the theory;
the data can also force us to create a new hypotheses, adding detail to
the theory, model, or concept, more fully specifying it.
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In utilizing such an approach, theoretically expected findings must not blind
the researcher to what the data are trying to tell. However, it is difficult for
researchers to ignore their personal experiences and knowledge of prior research.
Biases can be ignored, making us more likely to see what we unconsciously hope to
see, or they can be acknowledged, allowing us to be aware of them and to be more
careful in interpreting the data (Vaughan, 1992). As a person who has experience
working with children and families involved with the Dependency and Neglect
courts, incarcerated populations, and juvenile offenders, I was forced to confront my
sympathies and biases toward these populations (See Appendix C). While not able to
ignore my knowledge and experiences, I attempted to prevent them from seriously
compromising my observations and analyses by acknowledging them and continually
asking myself if I thought other researchers who did not have my experiences would
reach similar findings.
While every childs experience of paternal incarceration will differ, it is likely
that common features exist. Since substance abuse is widespread in the incarcerated
population, it is likely that children of incarcerated parents are at high risk for
exposure to parental substance abuse. Criminogenic attitudes and behaviors are also
common among prison inmates, making it likely that children of prison inmates may
be exposed to these risk factors. Other variables, including high levels of family and
residential instability, exposure to parental mental illnesses, loss of income,
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separation trauma, problems in school, and association with delinquent peers may be
common in the children of incarcerated fathers and may have effects independent of
the phenomenon of interest. The incarceration of the father figure may be just one of
many risk factors to which these children are exposed or may not be a risk factor at
all.
Life Trajectories and Turning Points
A theory that may be useful in interpreting life history data is that of life
trajectories and turning points, two intertwined concepts described by Wheaton and
Gotlib (1997). They argue that a life trajectory is the stable component of a
direction toward a life destination and is characterized by a given probability of
occurrence (Wheaton & Gotlib, 1997, p. 2). While it is impossible to determine
where exactly a life trajectory will lead, Wheaton and Gotlib (1997, p. 2) maintain
that the nature of a trajectory has a built-in process, and that the longer the
individual stays on one path, such as continuing educational achievement, the more
likely it is that certain outcomes will occur. They argue that early experiences in the
life course will make a greater difference with respect to outcomes than experiences
that occur later in life and that the mechanisms of stressful experiences underscore
the chain reaction notion of a trajectory: once a trajectory is defined, events tend to
have accumulating consequence, (Wheaton & Gotlib, 1997, p. 2).
Although all children whose fathers are incarcerated are on individual life
trajectories, common characteristics may predict where those trajectories lead. Some
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children, raised in environments where they are exposed to multiple known risk
factors such as violence, substance abuse, and criminality, may be on life paths that
predict negative outcomes such as academic failure, delinquency, association with
delinquent peers, substance abuse, antisocial behavior, criminality, mental health
problems, academic failure, social disadvantage, and juvenile and criminal justice
system involvement (Ackerman et al., 1999; Anda et al., 2002; Bolger & Patterson,
2004; Cavanagh & Huston, 2000; Chassin et al., 1993; Dodge et al., 1990; Echlin &
Marshall, 1995; Eitle & Turner, 2002; English et al., 2003; Farrington et al., 2001;
Feig, 1998; Finn et al., 2000; Giancola et al., 1999; Graham-Bermann & Edelson,
2001; Holden, 1998; Jacob et al, 1999; Johnson & Leff, 1999; Kemic et al., 2003;
Loeber & Stouthamer-Loeber, 1986; McDonald et al., 2000; McMahon & Luthar,
1998; Milan & Pinderhughes, 2006; Miles et al., 1998; Miller et al., 1999; Morrison,
2000; Osofsky, 1995; Osofsky, 1998; Patterson et al., 1992; Sher et al., 1991;
Sternberg et al., 1993; Thomberry, 1994). Other children, exposed to fewer risk
factors, may have life trajectories that can lead in many different directions and
outcomes that are not as easily predictable. Children raised in environments in which
they are exposed to socially accepted norms and sufficient numbers of developmental
assets such as family support, commitment to learning, peaceful conflict resolution,
and positive peer and adult role models, are likely to not engage in risky behaviors
that are linked to delinquency and later negative outcomes (Akers, 1985; Gottffedson
& Hirschi, 1990; Hirschi, 1969; Kohn, 1977; Leffert, Benson, Scales, Sharma, Drake,
75


& Blyth, 1998; Patterson, DeBaryshe, & Ramsey, 1989; Sampson & Laub 1993).
Identifying exposure to known risk and protective factors in the life histories of
children of incarcerated fathers prior to, during, and after the fathers incarceration is
important, especially if assumptions are made about possible life trajectories based on
exposure to risk factors.
Carlson and Cervera (1992, p. 19) refer to the pile-up of damaging events
and circumstances in the lives of persons facing adversity as increasing the likelihood
that they will experience negative outcomes. Exploring the life histories of study
participants allows the opportunity to identify the existence of various potential risk
factors. If Carlson and Cervera (1992) are correct, I would expect to find those study
participants who were exposed to multiple risk factors experiencing more negative
outcomes than those who were exposed to few.
Turning points are more difficult to define and, given the retrospective nature
of identifying turning points, often problematic (Wheaton & Gotlib, 1997). However,
a turning point, defined as a change in direction in the life course, with respect to a
previously established trajectory, may be an event that has long-term consequences
and may place an individual on a new life trajectory (Wheaton & Gotlib, 1997, p. 2).
If exposure or lack of exposure to risk factors predicts potential outcomes, turning
points that have the capacity to alter the life trajectory may serve as important
markers when attempting to identify effects of specific events.
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Many of the children of incarcerated parents are likely on life trajectories that
predict negative outcomes long before the incarceration of their fathers. For some
children, the incarceration may represent a turning point, while for others, different
events may signal significant changes in their lives. Although the concepts of life
trajectories and turning points may serve as useful frameworks for designing research
and analyzing life history data, the researcher must be aware of and avoid forcing
qualitative data to fit preconceived theories when such interpretations are not
warranted (Wolcott, 1994), such as identifying a turning point when an event does not
lead to a change in the life trajectory.
The incarceration of a father may serve as a turning point if the childs life
trajectory changes by increasing or decreasing the childs exposure to risk factors.
The incarceration of a father who is the primary financial support for a family may
represent a turning point in a negative direction if the father-child relationship was
positive and the child is later exposed to additional risk factors associated with the
loss of financial support. The incarceration may matter little if the childs exposure to
risk factors does not change. The incarceration of an antisocial father who victimizes
a child may represent a turn in a positive direction for the child, if the risk factors to
which the child is exposed are reduced. Although exploratory research is not
predictive in nature and is a theory-building exercise, if evidence is found that
indicates that the incarceration event may signal a change in a childs life trajectory
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that is associated with additional or new risk factors, additional research and policy
interest in these children may be warranted.
Research Design
The research design for the current research is a case study. Walton (1992, p.
125-126) argues that:
.. .as we begin to reflect on the state of general knowledge in social
science, it is clear that much of what we know derives from classic
case studies... these kinds of case studies become classic because they
provide models capable of instructive transferability to other settings.
While generalizability is not a stated goal for case studies, they should, when properly
undertaken, provide some understanding about other similarly situated individuals.
Berg (2001, p. 232) states:
.. .few human behaviors are unique, idiosyncratic, and spontaneous.. .if
this were the case, the attempt to undertake any type of survey
research on an aggregate group would be useless.. .If we accept the
notions that human behavior is predictable a necessary assumption
for all behavior science research then it is a simple jump to accept
that case studies have scientific value.
Flyvbjerg (2001, p. 82) notes that a concern voiced about case study research
is the natural human bias toward verification rather than falsification and that case
studies are inappropriate for theory testing because they may be more subject to the
researchers subjective and arbitrary judgment than other methods. However, he also
argues that qualitative researchers typically report that their preconceived views and
assumptions were challenged by their data (Flyvbjerg, 2001). Flyvbjerg (2002, p.
166) also contends that important questions are ones that matter to the local,
78


national, and global communities in which we live. Flyvbjerg (2002, p. 166) warns
that the drive to emulate natural sciences success in producing cumulative and
predictive theory has forced social sciences to focus on narrow and unimportant
questions since broad and important questions generally cannot be answered by the
parsimonious perspective of a quantitative approach. Flyvbjerg (2002) argues that
social science should be used to illuminate important issues and to inform the public
and decision-makers of processes that may not be readily visible.
A case study design requires an in-depth analysis both within individual cases
and between individual cases (Eisenhardt, 2002). The goal of the within-case
analysis is immersion in the data, allowing the researcher to become intimately
familiar with and to recognize unique characteristics in each case (Eisenhardt, 2002).
Such an immersion also alerts the researcher to unexpected findings that may not fit
with the preconceived ideas of what the data might reveal. The between-case analysis
is at the heart of theory building, as the patterns emerge from comparing the
individual with-in case analyses (Eisenhardt, 2002). However, a primary danger that
researchers face and to which they must be alert is unintentionally ignoring
disconfirming evidence in their eagerness to find support for either their preconceived
ideas or their developing theories (Nisbett & Ross, 1980).
Since inductive qualitative research does not involve statistical analyses that
require specific sample sizes to reduce threats to statistical conclusion validity and to
ensure robustness, it is up to the researcher to determine an appropriate sample size.
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Researchers add new cases until the data become repetitious and a saturation point,
the time when key concepts have been identified and after which no new data emerge,
has been reached (Ragin, 1994). In addition, continuing data collection beyond the
saturation point may place the researcher in danger of losing his or her perspective as
a researcher (Hesse-Biber & Leavy, 2006). However, Ragin (1994) also notes that a
danger inherent in qualitative sampling techniques is prematurely reaching a point of
saturation if the cases selected for study are not sufficiently representative of various
manifestations of the phenomenon of interest.
Sampling
Purposive sampling, a non-probability sampling technique in which subjects
are sought out based on a common characteristic, is a technique often used in
qualitative research (Patton, 2002). It is useful for identifying what is common
among subjects, for identifying maximum variation along a specific variable, for
confirming or disconfirming expected results, and for identifying exceptions that can
lead to unexpected findings. While it does not assure a representative sample, if
properly constructed, a purposive sample can increase variability by seeking out
subjects who, while sharing the common variable of interest, differ on other
characteristics.
Snowball sampling, an additional non-probability sampling technique, is a
method often used to reach marginalized populations (Atkinson & Flint, 2001). The
traditional use of snowball sampling involves utilizing the social networks among
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hard-to-reach populations by obtaining referral information from current participants.
However, for snowball sampling to be effective, social networks must exist between
potential study participants. Unlike drug users or gang members who often have
contacts within a subculture, the children of incarcerated fathers do not necessarily
come together because of their common bond of paternal incarceration, thus limiting
the utility of snowball sampling for my research. While several of the study
participants likely knew other children of incarcerated fathers other than their
siblings, several stated that discussing their fathers was not something frequently
done in their social circles and that they did not know if they had friends who had
also experienced paternal incarceration. Snowball sampling was primarily used in my
attempts to gain access to adult children through their incarcerated fathers.
Purposive sampling was my primary sampling method. I knew if I received
permission to interview individuals currently incarcerated, I could easily find a
sufficient number of study participants. I also knew that if I sought out individuals
currently experiencing other contact with the criminal justice system, such as those
involved with the Division of Youth Corrections or persons on probation or parole, I
would likely have access to sufficient numbers of potential study participants for my
research purposes. However, I was concerned that I would be limiting my research to
only those individuals who followed in their fathers footstep if all of my sample was
drawn from individuals involved with the criminal justice system. Since not all
children of incarcerated fathers have such negative outcomes, I attempted to
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maximize the variability of my sample by reaching out to various organizations, some
of which were likely to have contacts with potential study participants who were
more difficult to identify.
Sample
Twenty males and five females volunteered to be interviewed (see Table 3.1).
Ages of study participants ranged between 18 and 45: six were 18, three were 19, two
were 20, three were 21, two were 22, two were 23, two were 24, two were 26, one
was 28, one was 42, and one was 45. Eleven of the male subjects were White, six
were African American, two were Hispanic, and one was Native American. Three of
the female subjects were African American, one was White, and one was Hispanic.
Eight of the subjects were staying at a homeless shelter, six were in jail, four were
living on their own, four were living with a spouse, partner, or family member, two
were living on college campuses, and one was in a substance abuse treatment facility.
Twelve of the twenty-five subjects, nine males and three females, were
contacted through a homeless shelter that provides housing, educational, employment,
and counseling services for young homeless adults. Not all of these study participants
were staying at the shelter at the time of the interview. Four of the males had
obtained housing through the shelter and were living on their own. Ages of the
subjects affiliated with the homeless shelter were between eighteen and twenty-two.
Four of the male subjects were White, two were African American, two were
Hispanic, and one was Native American. All of the female subjects affiliated with the
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homeless shelter were African American. Two were eighteen years old and one was
nineteen.
Table 3.1 Characteristics of study participants (see Appendix B.l)
Male (n = 20) Female (n 5) Total (n = 25)
Average Age at time of interview 24 19 23
Race/Ethnicity White 11 1 12
African American 6 3 9
Hispanic 2 1 3
Native American 1 0 1
Education No GED/H.S. diploma 3 1 4
GED 6 0 6
High school diploma 4 2 6
Some college 7 2 9
Housing at time of interview Homeless shelter 5 3 8
Jail 6 0 6
College campus 1 1 2
Own residence, no partner 4 0 4
With spouse/partner 2 1 3
With mother 1 0 1
In-patient treatment 1 0 1
Six male subjects were recruited from a local jail. Ages of these subjects
ranged between twenty-one and forty-two. Five were White and one was African-
American. All of the White participants were between the ages of twenty-one and
twenty-six while the African American participant was forty-two. All were serving
their sentences in the county jail and all had prior incarcerations.
One study participant, a twenty-three-year-old White male who was recruited
though his inmate father, was interviewed in a treatment facility for drug addicts.
Another White male subject, living with his mother, was twenty-four-year-old and
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Full Text

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DAD'S IN PRISON: LIFE HISTORIES OF THE CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED FATHERS by MARY F. WEST-SMITH B.A. University of Colorado at Boulder, 1978 M.C.J., University of Colorado at Denver, 1999 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Graduate School of Public Affairs 2007

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2007 by Mary F. West-Smith All rights reserved.

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This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by Mary F. West-Smith has been approved Date

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West-Smith, Mary F. (Ph.D., Public Affairs) Dad's In Prison: Life Histories of the Children oflncarcerated Fathers Thesis directed by Professor Mark R. Pogrebin ABSTRACT This dissertation offers an analysis of the life histories oftwenty-five adult children whose fathers were incarcerated during their childhoods. An exploratory study using in-depth interviews with twenty men and five women, the analysis identifies similarities and differences in the experiences of the imprisonment of the fathers as well as other risk factors to which respondents were exposed. The majority of study participants were exposed to multiple risk factors such as parental substance abuse, exposure to violence, parental mental illness, residential instability, familial criminality and incarceration, and were themselves struggling with poverty, under and unemployment, low levels of education, substance abuse and/or mental illness, and involvement with the criminal justice system. A life trajectory and tulning point framework was used to analyze the life histories. The life trajectories for many study participants pointed toward marginalized lives prior to the incarceration of the father. However, the majority of respondents viewed their fathers' incarceration as turning points that led to even greater challenges in their lives While many of the fathers exhibited highly antisocial tendencies, many of the male respondents, primarily those exposed to

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increased residential instability after the fathers' incarceration, viewed their fathers in primarily positive terms and their fathers' incarceration as negative turning points in their lives. Loss ofthe fathers' financial contribution, even if from illegal means, often contributed to hardships the families faced after the father was sent to prison. Other turning points included involvement with child protective services, the mothers' drug or alcohol addictions, and the introduction of a new, often violent, father figure. The findings of this study offer possible insights into the challenges that the children of incarcerated fathers face Suggestions for future research include studies of female children of incarceration fathers, of children of incarcerated fathers who are not involved with the criminal justice or child protective services systems, of males who were living with and witnessed the arrest of the father, and of incarcerated children of incarcerated fathers. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. its publication.

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DEDICATION PAGE This dissertation is dedicated to my husband, Brian M. Smith, and my daughters, Jaren A. Smith and Jenna M. Smith.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS There are many people to acknowledge for their assistance in helping me complete this work. First, I would like to thank the twenty men and five women who so generously volunteered to tell me their often difficult and complex life histories Without their willingness to speak openly about challenges they faced as children and challenges they are still facing, this dissertation would have not been possible. Without the guidance of my dissertation chair, Dr. Mark Pogrebin, who introduced me to the joys of qualitative research, I would have never realized that such a study was possible. He has been my professor, mentor, advocate, and friend for many years and I am truly indebted to him. I hope that I have absorbed some of his passion for this type of research, especially for exploring the plight of those on fringes of society. I am also grateful to the other members of my dissertation committee, Dr. Eric Poole, Dr. Jody Fitzpatrick, both of the University of Colorado at Denver's Graduate School of Public Affairs, and Dr. Prabha Unnithan, from Colorado State University, for their patience and willingness to support and guide me though this long and often difficult process My deepest gratitude is for my long-suffering husband, who spent many hours listening patiently as I struggled to formulate my analysis. He is an excellent

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sounding board, since he works with a high-risk population, and could understand the challenges many of my respondents were facing. My children are fortunate to have such a great dad. In addition, the support and motivation provided by my daughters, Jaren and Jenna, spurred me forward. Their belief in me that I could successfully return to school after a long absence was the start. Their comment, "Mom, would you please quit talking about it and just do it," proved to be the final incentive for completing this study. Thanks, guys. Lastly, I wish that my parents, Christine and Frank West, were still alive so that I could thank them in person. I have felt their love and support throughout this project and know that they would be proud parents.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Tables ...................................................................................... xiv CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION ................................................................... .1 Inmate Families ...................................................................... 1 Inmate Fathers ....................................................................... 3 Children of Incarcerated Fathers ................................................ 4 Purpose of Research .............................................................. 5 2. LITERATURE REVIEW ............................................................ 7 Fatherhood ....................................................................... 12 Role of the Father .............................................................. 14 Absent Fathers .................................................................. 17 Inmate Fathers ................................................................ 18 Family Reunification .......................................................... 21 Children of Incarcerated Fathers ............................................. .24 Direct Effects of Incarceration ................................................ 29 Financial Impact .............................................................. 30 Caregivers and Families: Changes and Stress ................................. 32 lX

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Stigma and Shame ............................................................ 36 Separation Trauma .......................................................... 3 7 Risk Factors for Negative Outcomes ......................................... 39 Exposure to Substance Abuse ............................................. .40 Parental Alcohol Abuse ................................................. .41 Parental Drug Abuse ..................................................... 46 Exposure to Family Violence .............................................. .48 Exposure to Community Violence ......................................... 54 Exposure to Parental Mental Illness ....................................... 56 Exposure to Family Instability ............................................. 59 Exposure to Criminal Activity and Familial Incarceration ............. 61 Childhood Adversity ........................................................... 66 Conclusion ....................................................................... 65 3. METHODOLOGY .................................................................. 68 Formulating a Research Design ............................................... 70 Research Theory .............................................................. 71 Life Trajectories and Turning Points ................................... 74 Research Design .............................................................. 78 Sampling ......................................................................... 80 Sample ......................................................................... 82 Subject Recruitment ......................................................... 84 X

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Sample Limitations .......................................................... 90 Significance oflnterviewer's Race, Gender, and Age .................. 90 Data Collection .................................................................. 92 Life History Calendar ........................................................ 94 Conceptualization and Operationalization ................................. 96 Data Transcription .......................................... .. ................ 98 Saturation Point ............................................................... 99 Data Analysis .................................................................. 100 Description ........ .......................................................... 102 Analysis ...................................................................... 104 Interpretation ................................................................ 1 04 Research Method Limitations ................................................ 1 05 4. DESCRIPTION: GROWING UP AT ........................................ .109 Exposure to Alcohol and Drug Abuse ...................................... 109 Exposure to Violence .......... ............................................... 117 Family Violence ............................................................ 118 Community Violence ...................................................... 123 Exposure to Parental of Caregiver Mental Illness ........................ 125 Exposure to Criminal Activity and Familial Incarceration ............... 128 Residential Instability .............................. ........................... 134 Conclusion ...................................................................... 13 7 xi

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5. ANALYSIS: LIFE TRAJECTORIES AND TURNING POINTS ........... 138 Risk Factors and Life Trajectories .......................................... 140 Risk Factors .................................................................. 141 Exposure to Substance Abuse ......................................... 141 Exposure to Violence ................................................... 144 Family Violence ................................................... .145 Community Violence .............................................. 146 Exposure to Parental Mental Illness ................................... 148 Exposure to Criminal Activity ......................................... 149 Exposure to Residential Instability .................................... 152 Conclusion: Risk Factors ............................................... l54 Additional Risk Factors ..................................................... .157 Witnessing the Arrest. ................................................... 157 Child Protective Services Involvement ............................... 162 Protective Factors ........................................................... 165 Pro social Caregiver ...................................................... 165 Commitment to School. ................................................ 168 Lack of Protective Factors ............................................. 169 Other Protective Factors ................................................ 170 Conclusion: Risk Factors and Life Trajectories ......................... 172 Risk Factors and Turning Points ............................................. 173 Xll

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Turning Points: Paternal Incarceration .................................. .174 Loss of Father's Income ............................................... .175 Change of Residence .............................................. 177 Other Changes Related to Loss of Father's Income ........... 181 Sense of Loss of Father ................................................ 183 Assuming Caregiver Role ............................................. .188 Conclusion: Turning Points Related to Father's Incarceration ... 191 Other Turning Points Indirectly Related to Father's Incarceration ... 193 New Father Figure ...................................................... 194 Lies and Truth about Dad .............................................. 197 Reunification with Father .............................................. 200 Wake-Up Call: Following in Father's Footsteps ................... .204 Conclusion: Risk Factors and Turning Points ........................... 205 6. INTERPRETATION: PERCEPTION OF THE FATHER .................... 208 View of the Father from the Child's Perspective ......................... 208 Characteristics of Fathers Viewed Positively ........................... 21 0 Characteristics of Fathers Viewed Negatively .......................... 216 View of the Father and Risk Factors ....................................... 220 Paternal Substance Abuse ................................................. 220 Maternal Substance Abuse ................................................ 222 Child Abuse .................................................................. 224 xiii

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Mother Battering by Father. ............................................... 225 Mentally Til Parents ......................................................... 226 Residential Instability ....................................................... 226 Multiple Paternal Incarcerations and Paternal Criminal Activity .... 229 Witnessing the Arrest. ..................................................... 230 Child Protective Services Involvement.. ................................ 230 Conclusion: View of the Father and Risk Factors ..................... 232 Perception of the Father and Prison as a Turning Point. ................. 233 View of the Father and Subject Current Outcomes ....................... 236 Assigning Blame .............................................................. 240 Looking to the Future ......................................................... 245 7. CONCLUSION ..................................................................... 254 Suggestions for Future Research ............................................ 260 Conclusion ..................................................................... 262 APPENDIX A. CALL FOR PARTICWANTS ................................................... 264 B. DATA TABLES ................................................................... 265 C. INTERVIEWER HISTORY AND POTENTIAL BIAS ..................... 273 D. INFORMED CONSENT FORM ................................................ 275 E. LIFE HISTORY CALENDAR ................................................... 278 F. SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ......................................... 281 xiv

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G. ADDITIONAL TOPICS AND QUOTATIONS NOT USED ............... 282 BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................... .............................. 290 XV

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TABLES Table 3.1 Characteristics of study participants .............................................. 83 4.1 Reported severe parental substance abuse ..................................... 110 4.2 Reported exposure to severe violence and abuse .............................. 118 4.3 Reported exposure to diagnosed parental mental illness ..................... 125 4.4 Reported exposure to familial criminal activity and incarceration ......... 128 4.5 Reported household makeup ..................................................... 135 5.1 Parental substance abuse ......................................................... 142 5.2 Parental heroin, crack cocaine, and polysubstance abuse .................... 143 5.3 Mother battering and child abuse ................................................ 146 5.4 Exposure to community or gang violence and gang membership .......... 147 5.5 Exposure to parental mental illness ............................................. 148 5.6 Exposure to criminal activity and familial incarceration ................... .149 5. 7 Exposure to residential instability prior to and after incarceration ......... 152 5.8 Witnessing the arrest of the father. ............................................ 160 5.9 Child protective services involvement ......................................... 164 5.10 Pro social caregiver ................................................................ 166 5.11 Commitment to school ........................................................... 169 5.12 Prosocial caregiver, commitment to school, and respondent prosocial attitudes and behaviors ........................................................... 170 5.13 Father's imprisonment as a turning point. ..................................... 174 5.14 Financial contribution by father ................................................ 176 5.15 Sense of emotional loss from father absence ................................. 184 5.16 Relationship with stepfather or new father figure ............................ .194 6.1 Subject view of the father and current outcomes ............................. .209 6.2 Exposure to risk factors and view of the father ................................ 221 6.3 Subject view of the father and prison as a turning point ..................... .234 6.4 Subject views of the father and current outcomes ............................ 236 6.5 Male subject views of the father, living situation prior to prison, and current outcomes ................................................................... 238 B.1 Characteristics of study participants ............................................. 265 B.2 Exposure to severe parental substance abuse .................................. 266 B.3 Exposure to violence ............................................................. 267 B.4 Diagnosed parental & subject mental illness .................................. 268 B.5 Exposure to criminal activity & incarceration ............................... .269 xvi

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B.6 Household makeup & living arrangements .................................... 270 B.7 Financial contribution & residential stability ............................................. 271 B.8 Turning points & perception of father ...................................................... .. 272 xvii

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was. Anne Sexton The characteristics of a father can vary widely. Some fathers may be viewed as the hero, the protector, the wise counsel, the provider, the teacher, or the playmate, while others may be seen as the absent parent, the tyrant, the alcoholic, the drug addict, the criminal, or the violent monster. The perceptions a child has of his or her father may reflect what others see; however, perceptions may also reflect personal interpretations that have little basis in the realities of others. We can never view a father through a child's eyes, but having a more complete comprehension of the complexity of the father-child relationship from a child's perspective may help us understand what the presence or absence of a father means to a child. Inmate Families Over the last twenty-five years, the prison inmate population in the United States has quadrupled. Changes in public policy, exemplified by "get tough on crime" legislation, fueled this rapid increase. The perception of offenders by the public and policymakers was driven by a mediaand politically-induced fear of violent victimization. Lost in the attempt to increase public safety through an 1

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increasing reliance on incarceration was the recognition that many offenders have serious drug and/or alcohol problems, are frequently undereducated and unemployed or underemployed, generally live in impoverished and often violent communities, may be suffering from diagnosed or undiagnosed mental disorders, and often have family members, including children, whose lives may be profoundly affected by their relationships with these offenders. Many of the legislative changes, precipitated by much-needed attention paid to previously ignored victims, resulted in little attention paid to others whose lives might also be changed by the increasing dependence on incarceration. Data on inmate families are not collected in any systematic fashion, making it difficult to determine the actual number of children whose parents are incarcerated. Individuals arrested for crimes cannot be required to provide information about their families. Many incarcerated parents do not report the existence of their children to authorities for fear their children will be placed in foster care (Johnson, 1995b). When they do report the existence of dependent family members to the authorities, the information is not entered into databases nor made available for analytical purposes. Despite the lack of accurate data, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) estimated, based on a 1997 survey of State and Federal inmates, that by the end of 2002, one in every forty-five minor child in the United States had either a mother or father in prison (Mumola, 2004). Given the significant overrepresentation of males in 2

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the inmate population, a child is much more likely to have an incarcerated father than an incarcerated mother. However, much of the focus in both the policy and research worlds has been on the children of incarcerated mothers (Gabel, 1992; Hairston, 1989; Hairston, 1995; Martin, 2001; Boswell, 2002 ). These children are more likely to be placed in foster care than the children of incarcerated fathers and may also be more visible than those who inhabit the hidden world of the children of incarcerated fathers (Johnson, 1995a). While little is known about the children of incarcerated parents in general, less is know about the children of incarcerated fathers. Inmate Fathers Traditionally, the vast majority of incarcerated individuals have been male. In 2002, the incarceration rate for males was approximately 15 times greater than that for females (Maguire & Pastore, n.d.). Although the incarceration rate for females is increasing at a more rapid rate than that for males, males still represent over 90% of the incarcerated population (Maguire & Pastore, n.d.). In the most recent BJSnationwide survey of State and Federal correctional facilities, conducted in 1997, 55% of male State inmates and 63% of male Federal inmates reported that they were fathers of at least one minor child (Mumola, 2000). Based on the results of this survey, by the end of2002, it was estimated that at least 1.5 million children in the United States had at least one parent in prison (Mumola, 2004). Given the significant overrepresentation of male inmates in the correctional 3

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system, it was estimated that at least 1.2 of the 1.5 million children with an incarcerated parent in 2002 were children of incarcerated fathers (Mumola, 2004). Children of Incarcerated Fathers Ninety percent of the inmate fathers in the BJS 1997 survey reported that the current caregivers for their children were the children's mothers (Mumola, 2000). Since few of these children advertise the fact that their fathers are in prison (Johnson, 1995a), it is likely that many of them blend in with the children of other single mothers. The problems associated with identifying a hidden population have contributed to the difficulty in conducting research with this population and the a paucity of studies focused on the effects of paternal incarceration. While not all children of incarcerated fathers were living with their fathers prior to incarceration, it was estimated that at yearend in 1999, 300,900 households in the United States, representing an estimated 600,000 minor children, had resident fathers in prison (Mumola, 2000). However additional children may be affected by the incarceration of a nonresident father if the father contributed financially to the support of the child or if the father was in regular contact with the child. Although many incarcerated fathers reported that they did not share a residence with their children, many stated that they had ongoing non-custodial relationships with their children (Mumola, 2000). These estimates of the number of children of incarcerated fathers at any given time do not include the large numbers of children whose fathers were incarcerated but 4

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now have returned to the community. The story does not end merely with those whose fathers are currently in prison. Since a prison experience and the family disruption that can result from incarceration continues when a person returns to society, the effects of incarceration may last much longer than the actual term of incarceration (Johnson, 1995a). Each child experiences the imprisonment of his or her father differently. However, some common features likely exist. Some children's lives may change dramatically for the worse, if the father provided primary financial or emotional support; some children's lives may improve, if the father's presence created chaos or violence in the child's life and increased stability is the result of the father's absence; and some children's lives may change little. Without research that informs us of what these children's lives are like both before and after their fathers' incarceration, it is difficult to identify whether the incarceration itself is a significant event in these children's lives. Purpose of Research Much of what we know about the children of incarcerated fathers relies either on the perceptions of the caregivers for these children or the perceptions of the inmate fathers themselves (Boswell & Wedge, 2002; Carlson & Cervera, 1992; Day, Adcock, Bahr, & Arditti, 2005; Fishman, 1990; Fritsch & Burkhead, 1981; Girshick, 1996; Johnson, 1995a; Johnson, 1995b). Both caregivers and inmate fathers frequently describe negative characteristics of the children's behavior that are 5

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generally attributed to the father's incarceration. The few studies conducted using information from the children themselves focus on children whose fathers are currently incarcerated and typically investigate issues surrounding incarceration, such as the effects of prison visitation or father absence (Boswell, 2002; Fritsch & Burkhead, 1991; Gabel, 1992; Johnson, 1995c). An understanding of the nature of these children's lives prior to the father's incarceration is conspicuously absent. The effects of arrest and incarceration generally cannot be disentangled from the effects of the lifestyle and environment in which the child was living prior to and after incarceration. Without an understanding of the risk factors these children may be exposed to both before and after the father's incarceration, it is imprudent to attribute negative outcomes or characteristics of the child's behavior to the father's incarceration. The current study focuses on the life histories of the children of incarcerated fathers and investigates the many risk factors to which study participants may have been exposed. The purpose of this research is not to find a direct effect of incarceration, but to provide a glimpse into the lives of a few of these children prior to and after the incarceration event. The purpose of this research is not to provide a valid chronology of events in a subject's life, but, rather, to provide insight into how the subjects view their fathers and how they perceive the effects of the fathers' incarceration. 6

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CHAPTER2 LITERATURE REVIEW The rapid increase in the number of incarcerated individuals in the United States has led to a corresponding increase in the number of children of incarcerated parents. The best estimates for the number of children who have parents incarcerated in State and Federal prisons are derived from a 1997 nationwide survey of inmates by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and subsequent estimates based on that survey. Between 1991 and 1999, the number of children of parents incarcerated in State and Federal prisons was estimated to have increased by 60% (Mumola, 2000). By the end of2002, 1 in every 45 children in America, over one and one-half million children, had a father or mother in State or Federal prison (Mumola, 2004). The vast majority of these children, an estimated 81% in 1999, were the children of fathers incarcerated in State prisons (Mumola, 2000). In the 1997 BJS survey, 55% of State male inmates and 63% of Federal male inmates reported that they were the fathers of at least one minor child (Mumola, 2000). Forty-three percent of the inmate parents identified themselves as parents to one minor child, 28% stated they had two minor children, and 29% reported three or more minor children (Mumola, 2000). With an average age of eight, the majority of these children were under the age of ten: 2% were younger than one year old, 20% 7

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between the ages of one and five, 35% between five and ten years old, 28% between ten and fifteen, and the remaining 15% between fifteen and nineteen (Mumola, 2000). Forty-five percent of the inmate fathers and 64% of the inmate mothers in State prisons and 55% of inmate fathers and 84% of inmate mothers in the Federal prison system reported living with at least one of their children prior to their incarceration (Mumola, 2000). While the children of incarcerated mothers were more likely to have lived with their mothers prior to incarceration, given the substantial overrepresentation of males in the correctional system, many more children of incarcerated fathers were living with their fathers prior to incarceration. Many of these children were likely growing up in households with parents who had low educational attainment and who were struggling financially. Seventy percent of parents in State prisons and 55% of parents in Federal prisons reported that they did not have high school diplomas, with approximately 13% overall having completed 8th grade or less (Mumola, 2000). Approximately 40% of inmate parents without a high school diploma had received GEDs, but many of these completed their GEDs while in an institution (Mumola, 2000). Approximately 16% of inmate parents had high school diplomas and approximately 15% had taken college classes (Mumola, 2000) When compared to the national non-institutionalized population over the age of 18, the highest educational achievement is significantly lower for both parent and non-parent inmates: 17% of the national population are high school dropouts, 33% are high 8

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school graduates or have GEDs, 20% have had some college, and 30% have some type of college degree (U.S. Census Bureau, n.d., b.). Approximately three-quarters of inmate fathers in State and Federal prison systems reported being employed in the month prior to their arrest for the crime for which they were incarcerated. Eighty-four percent indicated full-time employment, 12% part-time employment, and 4% occasional employment (Mumola, 2000). Over one-half of inmate mothers also reported employment prior to their arrest and incarceration, with approximately three-quarters of employed inmate mothers reporting full-time employment (Mumola, 2000). Over 25% of both inmate mothers and inmate fathers reported income from illegal sources (Mumola, 2000). An unknown number of inmate parents were both employed and received income from illegal means. Approximately 45% of inmate parents reported earnings in excess of$1,000 in the month prior to their arrest, but approximately 50% of inmate parents reported incomes close to or slightly above the Federal Poverty Guidelines (Mumola, 2000; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.). Inmate mothers in both the State and Federal prison systems were more likely than inmate fathers to report extremely low incomes (Mumola, 2000). However, given the limitations of the BJS aggregated data, it is not possible to determine the number of children who were living with parents in poverty prior to the incarceration of the parent. 9

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African-American inmates are significantly overrepresented in the correctional population. At the time of the 1997 BJS survey, African-American individuals comprised approximately 12% of the national population but represented 45% of the State and Federal inmate population (Mumola, 2000; U.S. Census Bureau, n.d., a.). This racial disparity among inmates translates into a racial disparity among the children of incarcerated parents: African-American children were approximately nine times more likely than White children to have a parent in prison (Mumola, 2000). Nationally, an estimated 7% of the total population of African-American minor children, over 750,000 children, had a parent in prison in 1999 (Mumola, 2000). Hispanic inmates were slightly overrepresented in the State correctional population: Hispanic individuals comprised approximately 12% ofthe general population but 14% of the State inmate population (Mumola, 2000; U.S. Census Bureau, n.d., a.). However, they were significantly overrepresented in the Federal prison system where they made up 30% of the inmate population (Mumola, 2000). In 1999, an estimated 301,600 Hispanic minor children had a parent in prison, representing 2.6% ofthe total population of Hispanic children (Mumola, 2000). Hispanic minor children were approximately three times as likely as White children to have a parent in prison (Mumola, 2000). Individuals identified as non-Hispanic White represent more than 75% of the national population but made up only 27% of the Federal and 36% of the State inmate 10

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population (Mwnola, 2000; U.S Census Bureau, n.d., a.). Therefore, having an incarcerated parent was much more uncommon for White children. In 1999, an estimated 384,500 minor children, or 0.8% of the total national population of White children, had a parent in prison (Mumola, 2000). In the last fifteen years, there has been research interest in the children of incarcerated mothers, primarily in the social welfare field. The academic and practitioner perception, driven by the rapidly increasing rate of female incarceration, has been that the children of incarcerated mothers are more likely to be severely harmed by the mothers' incarceration since they are at a much greater risk for placement in foster care than are the children of incarcerated men (Bloom, 1995; Bloom & Steinhart, 1993; Gentry, 1998; Johnson, 1995b; Kampfner, 1995). While both policy and research interest has focused on the children of incarcerated mothers, little attention has been paid to the much larger population of the children of incarcerated fathers. The BJS 1997 survey presents valuable general information about incarcerated parents. However, it does not identify the characteristics of those parents who were living with or had maintained a relationship with their children at the time of their arrest for the crime for which they were incarcerated. We do not know how many children were living with violent multiple recidivists, with drug traffickers, with working parents who supplemented their incomes with illegal activities, with parents whose sole source of income was from criminal acts, with parents who had 11

PAGE 29

serious drug and/or alcohol abuse problems, with parents struggling with mental illness, with parents who were junior high or high school dropouts, with parents who were homeless, or with parents who were unable in other ways to provide a stable and secure environment for their children. What emerges from these data are images of children whose lives were likely difficult prior to the parents' incarceration; lives of poverty, instability, substance abuse, and exposure to criminal activity and violence. What we do not know, however, is what these children's lives were like both prior to and after the incarceration of the fathers. Fatherhood Many fathers do not interact with and influence their children through the traditional married two-parent family model. Thirty-seven percent of all births in 2005 in the United States were to unmarried mothers (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.). The proportions of non-marital births are higher among poor and minority populations, with 25% of White children, 48% of Hispanic children, and 70% of African American children born to unmarried parents (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.). Although many children are born into households where fathers are not part of the traditional dyad, the majority of these children have regular contact with their fathers (Casper and Bianchi, 2002). Contact between unmarried fathers and their children is similar among the various major racial and ethnic groups: 72% of African American and White children and 75% of Latino children born to unmarried mothers 12

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either live with their fathers or see them at least once a week (Casper & Bianchi, 2002). However, White children who do not live with their fathers are more likely to never see their fathers than are Hispanic or African American children who do not live with their fathers (Casper & Bianchi, 2002). Research into fathering in poverty-stricken African American communities is made more difficult by the complex family relationships within which children may be raised by multiple caregivers who include various maternal figures, biological and non-biological father figures, and other kinship and non-kinship family members (Roopnarine, 2004). However, the image of minority fathers or unmarried fathers as being absent from their children's lives may not be an accurate representation of these father-child relationships (Roopnarine, 2004). While the concept of fathering among African American men, especially young and poor fathers, often does not meet the traditional definition of fatherhood, many young and poor non-resident African American fathers have emotional or financial relationships with their children, take an interest in their welfare, and provide in-kind support and money to the children's mothers (Roopnarine, 2004). Relationships with nonresident biological fathers may also change and evolve as the fathers move in and out of their children's lives and others, such as grandfathers, uncles, or stepfathers, assume the father figure role (Jarrett, Roy, & Burton, 2002). A primary difficulty in investigating fatherhood among Hispanic or Latino families is the highly heterogeneous nature of the Latino population in the United 13

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State. While the various subgroups that make up the Latino population may have the Spanish language in common, the characteristics of families and fathers in Latino families from varying cultural origins may widely differ (Cabrera & Coll, 2004; Parke, Coltrane, Borthwick-Duffy, Powers, Adams, Fabricius, Braver, & Saenz, 2004). In addition to the difficulty in identifying parenting practices across Latino groups, few studies have focused on the role these fathers play in their children's development. Existing studies, although relying primarily on small convenience samples, indicate that the traditional view of Latino fathers as distant authoritarian figures may not only be inaccurate but may also perpetuate a negative stereotype (Cabrera & Coll, 2004; Parke et al., 2004). These studies have also found that Latino families are more egalitarian and that the power of the man is less absolute than is traditionally believed (Cabrera & Coll, 2004; Parke et al., 2004). In research conducted in Mexico City, Guttman (1996) found that a definition of masculinity or machismo among poor and working-class men included taking an active role in parenting. Studies of Latino families, similar to studies of African American families, typically have also neglected to consider the father figure role that uncles and other adult males may play in single, nuclear, or extended families (Cabrera & Coll, 2004; Parke et al., 2004). Role ofthe Father A significant body of research on the father's influence on child development has evolved over the last 30 years. Early research into the contributions fathers make 14

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to their children's development focused on the masculine influence that fathers provide for the gender identification of their children, especially for sons. More recent studies have moved beyond investigating a simple one-way effect to viewing the reciprocal effects of the father-child interaction as part of a complex set of relationships that include the entire family and the surrounding social system (Lamb, 2004). Few scholars suggest that a male influence is essential and irreplaceable, but most suggest that the father's or father figures' behavior can significantly affect the lives of their children (Day & Lamb, 2004). However, the image of the father as breadwinner, which often ignores other roles that fathers play, continues to dominate the meaning of fatherhood for most men and women (Lamb, 2000; McLanahan & Carlson, 2004). The ability of the father to fulfill the role ofbreadwinner continues to be a strong predictor of the nature of father-child relationships: fathers who are unable to fulfill that role frequently find the father-child relationship less rewarding and are more likely to withdraw from their children (McLananhan & Carlson, 2004). Men who are underemployed or unemployed, who have limited prospects for meaningful employment, or who have little formal education may find fewer opportunities for positive involvement with their children than fathers who have access to greater resources (Marsiglio & Cohan, 2000). The traditional popular view that the father plays a secondary or minor role in nurturing and child development has been challenged by research findings that show 15

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fathers significantly affect the development and prosperity of their children (Bronstein 1988; Day Gavazzi, & Adcock 2001; Lamb, 2004; Marsiglio, 1995). Father-infant attachment while different from mother-infant attachment is important in child development (Lamb 2004 ; Bronstein, 1988; Yogman Cooley & Kindlon 1988) In a study of two and three-year old children from low-income families enrolled in the National Evaluation of Early Head Start Tamis-LaMonda Shannon, Cabrera and Lamb (2004) found that father involvement affects children s cognitive and language development and also influences the quality of the mother-child engagement. Research findings also suggest that the father-child relationship is qualitatively different from the mother-child relationship. While mothers generally assume nurturing and care-giving roles fathers and their children engage in play (Bronstein 1988; Yogman et al., 1988). Bronstein (1988) notes that fathers also function as information providers for their children and that the relationship between the male child and his father is of particular importance for gender-role socialization. The strength of the father-child relationship has been correlated to the child s academic performance and successful social development for both boys and girls (Lamb 2004) Although father-child and mother-child relationships differ in some ways, the influence on their children is more similar than different: parental warmth, nurturance, and closeness are related to positive outcomes for children regardless of whether the parent is a father or mother (Lamb, 2004) 16

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Absent Fathers Father absence has been linked to antisocial behavior in children (Pfiffner, McBurnett, & Rathouz, 2001), early onset of offending among some male juveniles (Gibson & Tibbetts, 2000), economic and psychological difficulties (Amato & Gilbreth, 1999; Florsheim, 2000), female adolescent sexual behavior (Ellis, Bates, Dodge, Fergusson, Horwood, Pettit, & Woodward, 2003), and educational attainment and employment (McLanahan & Teitler, 1998). Marshall, English, and Stewart (2001), using the LONGSCAN (Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect) data set, found that the absence of a father figure was associated with higher levels of child aggression, but only in African American families. Juby and Farrington (200 1) found differences between children who parents were absent due to divorce and those whose parents had died: children who experienced parental divorce were more likely to become delinquent than those who experienced parental death. In a study of the short-term effects of parental separation on adolescent delinquency and depression, Videon (2002) identified effects of separation that depended upon the gender of the parent and child and nature of the parent-child relationship prior to the separation: the closer the relationship between fathers and sons prior to the separation, the greater the levels of delinquency after the separation. Murray and Farrington (2005) identified significant correlations between parental imprisonment and higher levels of antisocial personality, delinquency, violence, and imprisonment as later-life outcomes for the 17

PAGE 35

sons of incarcerated parents when compared to sons who were separated from their fathers for other reasons. While father absence appears to have negative effects on children, the beneficial effects of father presence may depend on the father's lack of antisocial behavior. Jaffee, Moffitt, Caspi, and Taylor (2003) identified a negative relationship between the amount of time fathers spent with their children and their children's conduct problems. However, the more time children spent with fathers who engaged in antisocial behavior, the more conduct problems the children exhibited (Jaffee et al., 2003 ). While much of the literature on father absence suggests that children of absent fathers may be at high risk for negative outcomes due to the lack of a father figure, it may be that the lives of the children of incarcerated fathers, men who may frequently exhibit antisocial behaviors, differ substantially from those whose fathers are absent due to divorce, occupation, or death. Inmate Fathers Incarcerated fathers share many of the characteristics commonly associated with other inmates, such as basic background demographic characteristics, types of crime and history of criminal offending, substance abuse and mental health problems, and educational and employment challenges (Mumola, 2000). While broad aggregated data from the 1997 BJS survey allow us to compare inmate fathers to other inmates, they tell us little about the relationships between inmate fathers and 18

PAGE 36

their children. Additional studies of inmate fathers provide information about fathers who spend time in prison but offer little information about the children themselves. The types of crimes committed by inmate fathers differ significantly between State and Federal inmates. Forty-four percent of State inmate fathers were incarcerated for violent crimes, more than any other crime category (Mumola, 2000). Drug offenses accounted for 23% of the current offenses and property crimes for 22% (Mumola, 2000). Within the violent crime category, 25% of State inmate fathers were serving time for murder or manslaughter, 20% for sexual assault, 31% for robbery, and 22% for assault (Mumola, 2000). Fifty-seven percent of State inmate fathers serving time for drug charges were convicted of drug trafficking while 43% were convicted of possession (Mumola, 2000). Approximately one-half of the State inmate fathers incarcerated for property offenses were serving time for burglary. Federal inmate fathers, unlike their State counterparts, were much more likely to have been convicted of drug offenses. Sixty-seven percent ofF ederal inmate fathers were serving time for drug offenses while 48% of Federal inmate fathers were convicted of drug trafficking (Mumola, 2000). Twelve percent of Federal inmate fathers were convicted of violent offenses: 10% of these inmates were serving time for murder or manslaughter, 7% for sexual assault, 68% for robbery, and 11% for assault (Mumola, 2000). Only 5% of Federal inmate fathers were convicted of property offenses, with fraud being the most common property crime conviction (Mumola, 2000). 19

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Over three-quarters of the State inmate fathers in the BJS survey had prior involvement with the criminal justice system, with many reporting multiple prior probation or incarceration sentences (Mumola, 2000). State inmate fathers were also the inmate parents who were most likely to be violent recidivists: 61% of State inmate fathers who reported prior convictions indicated that either their current or past criminal convictions were for violent crimes (Mumola, 2000). State inmate fathers were also those inmate parents most likely to report multiple prior convictions: 22% reported the current offense as their first criminal conviction, while 34% had one or two prior convictions, 25% had three to five prior convictions, 13% had six to ten prior convictions, and 6% had eleven or more prior convictions (Mumola, 2000). While the prior conviction histories of Federal inmate fathers were generally not as extensive as State inmate fathers, 65% also reported prior convictions (Mumola, 2000). In one of the few studies that examined characteristics of fathers in prison, Hairston (1995) found that inmate fathers in her sample were likely to have lived in homes in which a secure attachment to both of their parents was lacking. These inmate fathers were overwhelmingly low-income persons who were poorly educated, lacked job skills, and had sporadic employment histories. In addition, they typically suffered from substance abuse and had experienced repeated exposure to traumatic events such as separations from their own parents as children, parental substance 20

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abuse, domestic violence, community violence, child abuse, and the incarceration of other immediate family members (Hairston, 1995). The majority of Hairston's (1995) study participants did not share an ongoing relationship with the child's mother, although one-half reported living with their children and two-thirds indicated they contributed financial support for at least one of their children prior to their arrest. Contact with their children was generally sporadic or nonexistent after incarceration. Those fathers married to or living with their children's mothers prior to incarceration were those most likely to maintain contact. Family Reunification The significant increase in the number of incarcerated persons has also led to a substantial increase in the number of persons returning to their communities. As a result, there has been recent research interest in prisoner reentry, the process of inmates leaving prison and returning to their communities, and variables that are associated with the successful completion of parole without a return to prison. As part of the reentry focus, researchers have also investigated the effects of incarceration on inmate fathers and the reunification of inmate families. Although these studies do not focus on the children themselves, they provide additional information about incarcerated fathers. In a study of successful completion of parole, Bahr, Armstrong, Gibbs, Harris and Fisher (2005) found that a number of variables traditionally associated with a higher likelihood of parole success, such as marriage, living with a family member, or 21

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being a parent, were not positively associated with parole success or negatively associated with a return to prison. However, variables that were positively associated with not returning to prison were the number of close relationships within the family network, stable housing, employment, and the quality of the parent-child relationship. While this study did not focus on incarcerated fathers, although fathers on parole represented approximately seventy percent of the sample, the small number of successful parolees was not sufficient to overcome a threat to statistical conclusion validity, thereby raising questions about the validity of the authors' conclusions. In a qualitative study of incarcerated fathers nearing the end of their periods of incarceration, Adritti, Smock, and Parkman (2005) identified experiences, frustrations, and fears shared by many study participants. Frequently-cited concerns were a sense of helplessness and loss of parental control, an inability to be an involved father, an incapability to provide financial and emotional support, and an incapacity to help guide and discipline the children during incarceration (Adritti et al., 2005). Visitation was especially problematic for many of these fathers and the ambivalence associated with wanting to have personal contact with their children while not wanting their children to see them in powerless positions was a common theme. An additional reason fathers listed for avoiding prison visits with their children was having to cope with the emotional pain experienced by both fathers and children resulting from visitation. Adritti et al. (2005, p. 283) state that incarcerated fathers' self-identities as fathers are overshadowed by their self-identities as "helpless 22

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dads" who are constrained in their ability to parent not only by incarceration but also by dependence upon the children's caregivers who serve as "gatekeepers" for contact with their children. While many of the fathers in this study expressed optimism regarding reuniting with their children and improving their ability to be better fathers, the authors speculate that unless incarcerated fathers are given the opportunity to reclaim their fatherhood identity while still incarcerated, the hope for successful reunification with their children may be severely limited (Adritti et al., 2005). Day et al. (2005) found that inmate fathers frequently are not reliable sources for information about their children and families. In a study of inmate fathers nearing release, the fathers' versions of their relationships with and their anticipated return to their families were frequently unrealistic or ambiguous and family members to whom the inmate father anticipated returning generally provided accounts that did not correspond with those provided by the inmate fathers (Day et al., 2005). While many inmate fathers assumed they would have access to their children and families upon release, their spouses or partners were much more ambivalent about allowing the inmate to return to the family or to have contact with the children (Day et al., 2005). To date, there have been no published studies that identify the effects on children of family reunification after the incarcerated parent is released from prison. The reunion with the absent father may provide yet another stressful transition that may further undermine a child's adjustment (Travis & Waul, 2003). It is likely that many factors affect the nature of the father-child reunion, such as the quality of the 23

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relationship prior to incarceration, the nature and frequency of contact during incarceration, the stability of the caregiver-child relationship, the nature of the inmate father-caregiver relationship (Travis & Waul, 2003), and, perhaps most importantly, the intensity and nature of antisocial tendencies of the father (Jaffee et al., 2003). In arguing that theory development is necessary to begin to understand how incarceration affects a father's paternal identity, Dyer (2005) contends that incarceration may serve to interrupt not only the father-child relationship but also may interrupt the inmate father's self-identity. Those inmate fathers who engaged in behaviors that identified them as fathers, such as providing financial or emotional support for their children prior to their incarceration, may find that separation from their children is especially difficult (Dyer, 2005). Dyer (2005) further argues that prison norms of masculinity are likely to lead fathers further away from maintaining a bond with their children and that their new prison identity may be maintained after the fathers' release from prison, which serves to further damage the father-child relationship (Dyer, 2005). Children of Incarcerated Fathers Child welfare and criminal justice scholars note that little attention has been paid to and little is known about the children of incarcerated fathers (Gabel, 1992; Hairston, 1989; Hairston, 1995; Martin, 2001; Boswell, 2002). Unlike their fathers, who are more easily identified and are more likely to be available for research purposes, no systematic method for identifying the children of incarcerated fathers 24

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has been developed. However, it can be assumed that like their fathers, the children of incarcerated fathers are predominately of a racial or ethnic minority, poor, and come from families with high levels of disruption (Simmons, 2000). Limited numbers of studies from multiple disciplines suggest that children may suffer financial and emotional harm by the incarceration of their fathers (Carlson & Cervera, 1992; Fishman, 1990; Fritsch and Burkhead, 1981; Gabel, 1992; Gabel & Schindledecker, 1992; Girshick, 1996; Hairston, 1987; Hairston, 1989; Hairston, 1995; Hairston, 1998; Johnson, 1992; Johnson, 1993; Johnson, 1995a; Morris, 1965; Sack, 1977; Sack, Seidler, & Thomas, 1976; Swan, 1981). However, existing studies generally do not focus on the children, but rather on inmate fathers, the wives of inmates, or parenting education and support systems for incarcerated fathers. The issues surrounding the children of incarcerated fathers are addressed primarily as peripheral to the major research focus. Behaviors commonly reported in children of incarcerated parents by their parents or caregivers include internalizing problems such as anxiety, hypervigilance, depression, and withdrawal; externalizing problems such as anger, agitation, oppositional behavior, and aggression; changes in appetite or sleep patterns; school problems; and symptoms of grieving (Boswell & Wedge, 2002; Carlton & Cervera, 1992; Fishman, 1990; Fritsch & Burkhead, 1981; Girshick, 1996; Johnson, 1995a; Johnson, 1995b). Many ofthe parents and caregivers attribute these behaviors to the parents' incarceration. However, many of these behaviors are similar to those 25

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demonstrated by children exposed to marital violence (Holden, 1998; Osofsky, 1998), by children of substance abusing parents (Feig, 1998, McMahon & Luthar, 1998), and by children exposed to abuse or neglect (F eig, 1998). Children of incarcerated fathers are likely to share similar experiences with children exposed to childhood trauma and many are likely at higher risk to have experienced previous physical or emotional traumatic experiences such as abuse or neglect, domestic or community violence, parental substance abuse, and periods of separation from family members long before the their parents are incarcerated (Fishman, 1990; Johnson & Waldfogel, 2002; Johnson, 1995a; Johnson, 1995b; Johnson, 1995c). In an early random sample survey of incarcerated parents, Fritsch and Burkhead (1981) found that inmate parents reported a wide array of problem behaviors displayed by their children, including discipline problems, withdrawal, depression, problems in school, and aggressive behavior, which the inmate parents attributed to their own incarceration. However, this study was unable to identify the extent of behavioral problems prior to the parents' incarceration or the environment in which the children were living prior to and after the incarceration. While this study relied entirely on unverified data collected from inmate parents and suffered from significant methodological problems, one interesting statistically significant finding, that children who knew their parents were in prison displayed more problem behaviors than those who were led to believe that their parents were absent for more socially acceptable reasons such as for work or school, suggested the need for further 26

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studies to confirm or disconfirm the initial findings. If such research had been conducted and the initial findings were supported, an argument could be made that father absence due to incarceration may be substantially different from father absence due to more socially acceptable reasons. Murray and Farrington (2005) used data collected in England from a prospective longitudinal study of 411 male children and their parents to investigate outcomes for children raised in a working-class, inner-city environment in London. Data were first collected in 1961-1962 from individuals living in an area of South London and collected again every four years afterward. Life course outcomes, such as antisocial personality, delinquency, convictions, and imprisonment, were significantly worse for children who were separated from their parents by incarceration than for those separated for other reasons, even after controlling for other risk factors, including low attainment in school, low IQ, poor supervision, poor parenting by father or mother, and low family income (Murray & Farrington, 2005). The authors noted that problems with the study included the small number of children of incarcerated parents in the total sample, the inability to determine if the risk factors were present before imprisonment, or to determine if the risk factors were acting as mediating factors after imprisonment. They further noted that today's prison population is significantly different from the prison population of the 1960s and that replication is necessary to determine if the effects of separation due to parental incarceration are similar in today' s population of children of incarcerated parents 27

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(Murray & Farrington 2005). Nonetheless, their findings, that separation caused by parental imprisonment predicted several antisocial-delinquent outcomes well into adulthood when compared to other types of parental absence, may indicate that parental incarceration may have effects that extend well beyond the term of incarceration and may predict negative life-course outcomes. The difficulty inherent in conducting research with a hard-to-identify and vulnerable population has likely prevented the development of a body of research fmdings that specifically identifies the characteristics of the children of incarcerated fathers. The more complex question of isolating the effects of paternal incarceration is a question that is unanswerable without exploratory research and the development of sound theories. Given the lack of a developed body of methodologically sound research findings specific to these children and the likelihood that the children of incarcerated fathers may be at high risk for exposure to other types of trauma, researchers are far from being able to conduct analyses that isolate the effects of paternal incarceration from the many other risk factors to which these children may be exposed. Despite the inability to confirm direct or indirect effects of parental incarceration many child welfare and criminal justice scholars suggest that possible effects of incarceration include impaired parent-child bonding inappropriate separation anxiety, impaired socioemotional development traumatic stress reactions, developmental regressions poor self-concept impaired ability to overcome future 28

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trauma, rejections on limits on behavior, and intergenerational crime and incarceration (Travis, 2005). Direct Effects of Incarceration Ferraro, Johson, Jorgensen, and Bolton (1983) argue that when investigating the effects of incarceration, preexisting family problems that worsen should be distinguished from new problems that arise for the families of inmates as a direct result of the arrest and incarceration of the inmate. The arrest and its immediate aftermath can create a moment of crisis for a family, especially if the family has limited resources. For children who are financially dependent upon a father, the loss of the father also implies the loss of financial support, which may lead to a change in residence or a change in employment status for their caregivers. Caregivers who were married to or lived with the incarcerated father may suddenly find themselves facing the stresses of single parenthood. Children who live in communities where incarceration is viewed as deviant may experience stigma and shame while children who live in communities where incarceration is accepted as part of life may not experience such problems. Children who are emotionally dependent on their fathers may experience separation trauma; children who did not have an ongoing relationship with their fathers may be little affected by the incarceration; and children who lived in families where fathers victimize family members may be relieved that the father is gone. The direct effects of incarceration on children likely depend on the nature of 29

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the father-child relationship, characteristics of the father, the role of the father within the family, and the type of crime committed (Ferraro et al, 1983). Financial Impact Three in-depth studies by Carlson and Cervera (1992), Fishman (1993), and Girshick (1996) addressed the effects of incarceration on dependent wives of male irunates in State prisons and, indirectly, the subsequent effects on their children resulting from the wives' single-parent status. While the majority of children of incarcerated fathers maintained the same primary caregiver after the father's arrest and consequent incarceration, many were exposed to significant reductions in family income through both the loss of the father's income and the expenses associated with incarceration (Girschick, 1996). Since the majority ofthe children of incarcerated fathers were living at or below the poverty level prior to the father's arrest, any reduction in family income could significantly alter the child's lifestyle (Hairston, 1995). Fishman's (1993) study ofthirty wives of inmates in Vermont investigated the financial impact incarceration had on their families. The majority of inmates in this study were sentenced for non-serious crimes and lived in poverty-stricken areas prior to arrest. Imprisonment of these offenders placed considerable financial strain on family members, not only from the inmate's inability to contribute financially, but also from the inmates' demands for goods not available through the prison, long distance collect telephone calls, and travel expenses related to visits, all of which 30

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severely affected family members already coping with poverty (Fishman, 1993). Several of the wives in Girschick's (1996) study also reported a further reduction in family income from losing their jobs when their employers discovered their husbands were inmates. The loss of income can lead to a change of residence for inmate families. Many ofthe wives in Girschick's (1996) and Fishman's (1990) studies reported changing residences due to the financial hardships created by their husbands' incarcerations. Weisheit & Klofas (1989) found that even short-term incarceration in jail frequently leads to loss of rental housing. Pogrebin Dodge, & Katsampes (2001) note the domino effect that short-term incarceration can have on dependent family members, including loss of housing, school disruption, and repossession of automobiles and furniture. Carlson & Cervera (1992) state that if a change of residence also includes a change of neighborhood and school for school-age children, the effects on children are often dramatic: the loss of friends and assuming the role of outsider in a new school may create additional problems for these children, especially if peers are aware of and harass the child about the fathers' imprisonment. While the loss of family income associated with incarceration may affect inmate families, some inmate fathers may negatively affect their families' resources prior to their incarceration. Many inmates engage in lifestyles that may severely affect their families' finances before their arrest and imprisonment. Fishman (1993) reported that some of her study participants experienced significant reductions in the 31

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family income prior to the incarceration as a result of the husband's periodic unemployment and money spent with friends on drinking and using drugs. Caregivers and Families: Changes and Stress The 1997 BJS survey of incarcerated parents indicated a significant difference in the caregivers for the children of incarcerated parents after incarceration depending on whether the incarcerated parent was a mother or a father (Murnola, 2000). Approximately 90% of the children of inmate fathers lived with their mothers while the majority of the remainder lived with the children's grandparents (Murnola, 2000). In contrast, the children of inmate mothers tended to live with a grandparent of the child. Unlike the children of incarcerated mothers, few children of incarcerated fathers were reported to have been placed in foster care (Murnola, 2000). Children who did not live with their mothers after the fathers' incarceration are likely to be those children whose mothers are also involved in the criminal justice system, are in treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, or are deceased (Johnson, 1995c). A family's reaction to a stressful event can determine the extent of damage it suffers as a result of that event. Hill's (1965) model of family stress events defines the characteristics of a crisis as the interaction of the event with the available resources the family has to meet the crisis, filtered through the family's subjective perception of the event. Available resources, as well as the family's perception of a stressful event, can vary widely. 32

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Carlson and Cervera (1992) identify personal, family, and community resources as three broad types of resources available to families in crisis. Personal resources include the personal strengths of individual family members; family resources consist of good communication among family members and consensus on family roles; and community resources include support from friends and community members as well as from social agencies. Families who have all three types of resources theoretically are more likely to survive stressor events than those who are lacking resources in one or more area. However, inmate families may be less likely to have access to all three types of resources. As Carlson and Cervera ( 1992, p. 19) note, "pile-up is more likely to occur when the stressor event is a chronic, long-term one, such as incarceration, rather than a short-term problem ... [P]rior strains exist in most [prison] families as carryovers from previous unresolved hardships and can magnify the degree of hardship associated with a stressor event." Coping with the stressor event can depend on the family's appraisal and definition of the event, based on community and family standards. When family members can blame others, such as the police, courts, drug dealers, or associates for the arrest, thereby externalizing the blame for the stressor event from a member within the family to someone or something outside the family, the family member's status within the family can be preserved (Carlson & Cervera, 1992). Maintaining an inmate's fatherhood identity may depend upon his family's willingness to view his incarceration as the responsibility of others. 33

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A combination of personal and family strengths and societal supports may not be sufficient to maintain the family unit if the father's sentence is long. Holt and Miller (1972) found that by the third year of incarceration fewer than one-quarter of the wives were still visiting their husbands an indicator that the marriages were deteriorating. Carlson and Cervera (1992) theorize that the marriages that survive incarceration are those that display various personal, family, and community resources as well as the ability to externalize the blame for the stressor event. Maintaining the parent-child relationship may also depend on other factors such as family closeness prior to the incarceration, the relationship between father and the child's caregiver, religious beliefs, social class background, and the suddenness of the separation (Garmezy, 1986). Vaux ( 1985) argued that, compared to white families, Black and Hispanic families have stronger subcultural expectations of family aid that can help families of inmates. In Girshick's (1996) study of predominately white women married to and visiting inmate husbands, several experienced alienation from other family members when they chose to try to maintain their marriages. Caregivers for children in African American and Hispanic families and communities may be at an advantage in tenns of community and family support while being disadvantaged in many other areas (Vaux, 1985). The majority of wives in both Fishman's (1990) and Girshick's (1996) studies expressed traditional working class acceptance of gender roles. They generally were 34

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expected to stay home with the children while their husbands functioned as decision makers, wage earners, and disciplinarians. When the husbands were imprisoned, these wives were required to assume their husbands' daily tasks and responsibilities, roles that often were unfamiliar and uncomfortable (Fishman, 1990; Girschick, 1996). Girshick (1996, p. 31) states "the most common hardships reported by wives of prisoners include loneliness, financial problems, disciplining children, adjusting to role changes and concern for their husbands' safety and well-being." Girshick (1996) notes that these concerns were similar to those expressed by military wives in several studies, but that unlike military wives, inmates' wives live with the stigma of husbands whose absences are due not to duty but to deviance. Wives of inmates identified the stress of single parenthood as a significant problem associated with the absence of a father figure (Fishman, 1990; Carlson & Cervera, 1992; Daniel & Barrett, 1981 ). The wives, often left alone with little or no support from families or others, were forced to confront the problems their children were experiencing. In Fishman's (1990) study, the wives often reported lashing out verbally and physically at their children when the stresses of childcare and multiple anxieties became overwhelming. The incarceration of a father who lived with or helped financially support the family may also place increased burdens on the caregiver that result in inadequate supervision of the children. Research findings indicates that children of single mothers spend less time with their mothers, are not as well supervised, and receive 35

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less encouragement than children from two-parent families (McLanahan & Sandefur, 1994). The decline in parental resources may be temporary after the onset of single parenthood, but since these events may occur at critical developmental times in a child's life, "even though [a decline in parental resources] may last only for one or two years, from the child's point of view it may last a lifetime" (McLanahan & Sandefur, 1994, p. 1 08). Stigma and Shame Goffman (1963, p. 30) describes "courtesy stigma" as the loss of status in the community and the societal stigma suffered by the families of inmates due to their association with one who is stigmatized. Fishman (1990) also notes that the prisoner's stigma extends to wives and families but that the extent of the stigma or shame is dependent upon the type of crime for which the husband was incarcerated and whether the current incarceration was the first or part of a pattern of incarcerations. Stigma and shame can also be a problem for some children, but the effects may be moderated by the family and subculture's experience with familial and community arrest and incarceration and the nature of the parent's crime (Johnson, 1995a). Johnston (1995a) notes that while prior studies based on examination of the children's caregivers identify stigma and shame as important issues for the children of incarcerated parents, there is little direct evidence that stigma and shame play significant roles in the lives of these children. 36

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Separation Trauma Physical and emotional separation from the incarcerated parent may be a traumatic event for a child. Studies of father absence have identified multiple effects of a traumatic separation on children left behind, including the development of antisocial behaviors, early onset of offending, economic and psychological difficulties, and problems in school, which are moderated by several variables that include the age and gender of the child, the nature of the parent-child relationship prior to separations, and characteristics of the family and community (Amato & Gilbreth, 1999; Ellis et al., 2003; Florsheim, 2000; Gibson & Tibbetts, 2000; Jaffee et al., 2003; Marshall et al., 2001; McLanahan & Teitler, 1998; Videon, 2002). The children of incarcerated fathers, like children separated from their fathers for other reasons, likely suffer varying levels of separation trauma, depending on the father child relationship prior to the arrest, the age and developmental stage of the child, the sex of the child, the nature and number of prior separations, the nature and frequency of contact, the child's knowledge of the parent's criminal activity, the nature of the community, the nature ofthe caregiver's structural, emotional, and coping capabilities, and the quality of care the child's caregiver is able to provide (Gabel, 1992; Johnson, 1995a). When the separation is sudden, younger children may display acting-out behaviors, anxiety states, aggression, or withdrawal, while older children often exhibit signs of anger, sadness or grief, anxiety, and critical developmental tasks 37

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impairment (Johnston, 1995a). Although many ofthe children of inmates likely have led chaotic lives prior to parental incarceration, the subsequent trauma of separation from the parent may exacerbate existing emotional and developmental challenges (Johnston, 1995a). While some correctional authorities have speculated that the attachments between incarcerated parents and their children are weak, little is known about the nature of the parent-child bond in inmate families (Johnson, 1992; Johnson, 1993;Johnson, 1995a). The majority of imprisoned fathers have little or no direct contact with their children. Fathers who do not receive visits often identify transportation and escort problems as the main reasons their children do not visit them (Gable and Johnston, 1995). In Hairston's (1989) study, twenty percent ofthe imprisoned fathers stated that their children did not visit them because of opposition by the children's mothers. Other inmates reported that the lack of contact was the result of their own decision to avoid having their children see them in powerless positions in a prison or jail setting (Gable & Johnston, 1995; Hairston, 1998). Visits in prison or jail settings can be difficult for both inmates and visiting family members. In addition to problems associated with traveling long distances, visits are generally brief and impersonal. Visiting facilities are designed to address correctional concerns about the introduction of contraband into the jail or prison setting and such facilities generally do not accommodate the needs of children and parents (Carlson and Cervera, 1992). 38

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Telephone calls can be used to maintain contact between the parent and child, but the expense associated with long-distance collect calls prevents many inmates from maintaining regular telephone contact with their children (Fishman, 1993). Letter writing is often the primary method of communication between inmates and their families and friends. However, when an inmate has poor writing skills, shame and embarrassment may prevent the inmate from maintaining letter contact with families (Carlson and Cervera, 1992). Letter communication is also difficult when the child is young and cannot respond to the parent. As part of a larger study in Great Britain, Boswell (2002) interviewed seventeen children who were visiting their fathers at various prisons. Her findings indicate that a wide range of reactions to paternal incarceration exist, apparently dependent on a number of factors, including the age of the child, the prior relationship with the father, and the nature of the crime. However, all ofthe children in Boswell's (2002) study saw their fathers' incarceration as an event that profoundly affected them. Loss, shame, hopes and fears for the future, the importance of maintaining contact between the father and child, and the need for ongoing support from family, friends, and schools were recurring themes (Boswell, 2002). Risk Factors for Negative Outcomes for Children Many studies have been conducted investigating different factors that are associated with negative outcomes for children. Risk factors, such as exposure to parental substance abuse, violence, parental mental illness, family instability, criminal 39

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attitudes and behaviors and family incarceration have been linked to negative outcomes for children such as substance abuse mental health problems, failure in school, deviant or criminal behaviors, and intergenerational incarceration. When investigating the effects of paternal incarceration other risk factors in addition to the incarceration must be considered. Exposure to Substance Abuse Alcohol use, drug use, and polysubstance use is common among inmate parents and often plays a significant role in paternal incarceration (Carlson & Cervera, 1992 ; Fishman 1990; Girschick, 1996; Hairston 1995; Johnston 1995a ; Mumola 2000). While only 25% ofthe inmate fathers who participated in the 1997 BJS survey of inmate parents reported a history of alcohol dependence, over 37% reported being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the offense for which they were incarcerated (Mumola 2000) Thirty-nine percent indicated they had gotten into physical fights while under the effects of alcohol and 41% stated they had engaged in binge drinking defined as consuming the equivalent to 27 ounces of liquor in one day (Mumola 2000). Nineteen percent of State inmate fathers reported committing their current offense in order to obtain money to buy drugs and 33% identified themselves as being under the influence of drugs when they committed their current offense (Mumola 2000) Nineteen percent also admitted to intravenous drug use. These percentages are very similar to drug use reported by nonparents inmates who also participated in 40

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this survey. While these aggregated data do not tell us how many ofthe fathers who were abusing or dependent on drugs or alcohol lived with or financially or emotionally supported their children prior to their incarceration, it is apparent that drug and alcohol use and abuse is common among inmate parents. Parental substance abuse may contribute to incarceration but may also have many other significant effects on the child and the parent-child relationship independent of incarceration (Feig, 1998; McMahon & Luthar, 1998). Parental substance abuse is often accompanied by multiple other risk factors that may affect the child and the parent-child relationship. The complex interaction of multiple variables may create difficulties when attempting to link substance abuse with later behaviors displayed by children of substance abusers (Feig, 1998; McMahon & Luthar, 1998). Parental Alcohol Abuse Children of alcoholics often display behaviors that include aggression, anxiety, delinquency, depression, sleep disorders, and problems in school. However, these characteristics are similar to those exhibited by children exposed to other types oftrauma (Johnson & Rolf, 1990). Sher, Walitzer, Wood, and Brent (1991) found that the young adult children of alcoholic parents were significantly more likely to exhibit alcohol and drug problems higher levels of neuroticism and poor impulse control, more psychiatric distress, lower academic achievement, and less verbal ability than their counterparts who were not exposed to parental alcoholism. Chassin, 41

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Pillow, Curran Molina and Barrera (1993) identified the effect of paternal alcoholism on early substance use by adolescent children as resulting from decreased parental monitoring and increased emotionality, which were associated with a greater likelihood that adolescents would join a peer group that supported drug use behavior. Studies of males with parental histories of substance abuse disorders, including but not specific to alcohol, indicate that they are at increased risk of developing social or psychological problems, including substance abuse disorders and psychiatric diagnoses characterized by aggression, such as oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, and antisocial personality disorder (Giancola, Mezzich, Clark, & Tarter, 1999). Both cognitive distortions and aggressive behavior have been linked to later drug use by children of parents with substance abuse disorders (Giancola et al., 1999; Giancola, Martin, Tarter, Pelham, & Moss, 1996). Cognitive distortions that resulted in inaccurate attributions regarding the intentions of others were positively related to undersocialization, aggression, and the commission of violent crimes by highly aggressive male juvenile children of parents with substance abuse disorders (Dodge, Price, Bachorowski, & Newman, 1990). However, as Giancola et al. (1999) argue, a family history of substance abuse disorders, in and of itself, is not a risk factor that predisposes children to develop substance abuse disorders themselves. It is more likely that the family history of substance abuse disorders creates conditions, such as an environment of aggression, a lack of family cohesiveness, and maladaptive 42

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cognitive functioning that serve as risk factors for the later development of substance abuse disorders in the children of substance-abusing parents (Giancola et al. 1999). Johnson and Leff ( 1999) suggest that the environment in which the children of alcoholic parents are reared is characterized by a lack of effective parenting poor home management a lack of family communication skills and poor modeling and training on parenting skills and communication. Other family problems frequently associated with alcoholic families include increased family conflict, emotional or physical violence, decreased family cohesion, decreased family organization, increased family isolation frequent family moves increased family stress, illness marital strain and financial problems (Johnson & Leff, 1999). In addition to an inability to provide a structured environment for their children alcoholic parents often lack the ability to provide appropriate discipline and often expect their children to be competent in areas beyond their ability at a young age (Johnson & Leff, 1999). Although children of alcoholic parents are often placed in a position of parental responsibility of caring for younger siblings and, at times, the parent himself or herself parentification may or may not be a demonstration of maladaptive behavior on the part of the child. Walker and Lee ( 1998) found that parentified children of alcoholics who have an emotionally supportive relationships with a nonalcoholic parent may be less likely to develop substance abuse problems themselves in the future. 43

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Jacob, Wendel, Seilhemer, and Bost (1999) state that several studies of young adults exposed to parental alcoholism have demonstrated higher levels of cognitive, behavioral, and interpersonal impairments as indicated by impulsive or poorly controlled behavior, failure in school, association with deviant peers and antisocial or delinquent behaviors. Finn Sharkansky, Brandt & Turcotte (2000) linked the frequently observed tendencies ofthe children of alcoholics to display aggressive behaviors, problems with authority, unreliability and substance abuse to an inability to regulate behavior in response to social norms and an increased level of excitement and pleasure seeking. Their research suggests that deviance-prone individuals have difficulties in learning to control their actions because they have fundamental deficits in their ability to appropriately regulate their behavior (Finn et al. 2000) Children growing up with one or more alcoholic parent are also more likely to have unpredictable home lives and are at increased risk for a variety of adverse childhood experiences, including abuse and neglect, witnessing domestic violence, exposure to criminal activity and exposure to drug-abusing mentally ill or suicidal family members (Anda, Whitfield, Felitti, Chapman, Edwards, Dube, & Williamson, 2002). Anda et al. (2002) found that as the number of adverse childhood experiences increased for children of alcoholics, the risk for future alcoholism and/or depression also increased Rather than a direct cause and effect relationship between parental alcoholism and the substance abuse and depression in the child, Anda et al. (2002) argue that the observed higher frequencies of these characteristics in the children of 44

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alcoholics is linked primarily to the greater likelihood of exposure to other adverse childhood experiences as the result of living with alcohol-abusing parents. Exposure to parental pathology child abuse, family dysfunction, and other traumatic childhood events often linked to parental alcoholism, may interact and contribute to the increased risk of negative outcomes for the children of alcoholic parents (Harter, 2000). Studies also suggest that other variables such as socioeconomic status gender of the offspring, characteristics of the family environment and maternal or paternal personality or psychiatric characteristics, may serve as moderators to the effects of parental alcohol abuse (Jacob et al., 1999) Although children of alcoholics appear at increased risk for a variety of negative outcomes, none of the outcomes are observed in all children whose parents abuse alcohol nor are any specific to just the children of alcoholics. The differences observed in the outcomes for children of alcoholics may be partially explained by such moderating factors. Since the children of incarcerated fathers may be more likely to live in families facing financial deprivation family instability and higher levels of parental personality disorders or mental illness the effects of parental alcoholism on the children of incarcerated parents may be more likely to be intensified by other characteristics of their families and less likely to be diminished by protective factors. 45

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Parental Drug Abuse Although the extensive literature on alcoholism provides information about the children of alcoholic parents, there is comparatively little in the literature that identifies the characteristics of the children of drug abusers and the risk factors they face. The primary research focus on children of drug-abusing parents has been on the effects of fetal exposure to maternal drug use Although relatively little is known about the children of heroin addicts, cocaine abusers, or poly drug users, many researchers propose that the children of parents addicted to drugs other than alcohol are also at greater risk for later antisocial behaviors and intergenerational substance abuse (Johnson and Leff, 1999). Studies ofthe children of drug-dependent parents indicate that they are at a heightened risk of adolescent drug use, abuse and dependence (Miles, Stallings, Young, Hewitt Crowley, & Fulker, 1998). While many adolescents experiment with drugs, few develop serious problems with abuse or dependence. In a longitudinal study investigating whether psychosocial and interpersonal factors affect the association between the parental psychoactive substance use disorder (PSUD) and adolescent substance abuse, Hoffman and Cerbone (2002), found that while PSUD was positively associated with adolescent drug abuse, the association was weakened by strong family cohesion. However, the effects of parental substance abuse may be amplified if a family has a history of both drug abuse and an inability to provide a sufficient level of family support and structure for the child. 46

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Polysubstance abusers, those individuals who may abuse a drug of choice but who also abuse at least one other drug, have often been identified by treatment and criminal justice professionals as overrepresented in the correctional population (Johnson & Rolf, 1990). Polysubstance abusers have especially high levels of impulsivity and sensation seeking, lack of restraint, and tendencies toward social deviation (Conway, Kane, Ball, Poling, & Rounsaville, 2003). Conway et al. (2003), in a study of personality disorders and substance abuse, found that individuals who abused more than one substance did not significantly differ from single-substance abusers on such variables as education, age, and history of marriage, but were significantly different on mental health and personality disorder diagnoses. Persons who abused more than one substance were more likely to suffer from affective disorders, such as a major depressive disorder, dysthymia, or bipolar disorder; anxiety disorders, such as agoraphobia, social phobias, simple phobias, or obsessive compulsive disorder; or personality disorders, such as antisocial, narcissistic, histrionic, or borderline personality disorders (Conway et al., 2003). In addition, a study on treatment for cocaineand alcohol-dependent individuals suggested that these polysubstance abusers may be more resistant to treatment than individuals who are addicted to cocaine or alcohol alone (Brady, Sonne, Randall, Adinoff, & Malcolm, 1995). The focus of the research on polysubstance abusers has been on the abusers themselves while little is known about the effects on children of parental 47

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polysubstance abuse. However, since polysubstance abusers may be more resistant to treatment and may be more likely to suffer from mental illnesses or personality disorders, the children of polysubstance abusers may be at increased risk for exposure to additional risk factors. Since polysubstance abuse is common in the incarcerated population, the children of incarcerated parents who also abuse multiple substances may face additional challenges. Exposure to Family Violence While little direct evidence exists that male inmates engage in violence within their families at a greater rate than the general population, indirect evidence suggests that many male offenders may have a history of family violence (Dutton & Hart, 1992). Empirical evidence also suggests a link between high levels of domestic violence and disadvantaged communities based on weak social bonds, high levels of isolation, lax law enforcement, and the stresses of living in poverty-stricken and socially-fragmented areas (Benson, Fox, DeMaris, & VanWyk, 2000). Since anecdotal reports by inmate families frequently reference high levels of family violence, it is necessary to consider that some children of incarcerated fathers may have been exposed to family violence prior to, during, or after incarceration. Many children exposed to family violence display negative behavioral characteristics, often attributed to the effects of exposure to violence. Children who are direct victims of child abuse, who are exposed to interpersonal violence between parental figures, or who are exposed to other forms of family violence such as sibling 48

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abuse, are more likely to have significantly higher levels of psychological, behavioral and social problems, and difficulty in school than children not exposed to family violence (Bolger & Patterson, 2004; English, Marshall, & Stewart, 2003). Since partner violence and child abuse frequently co-occur, many children who witness domestic violence are also direct victims of violence (Margolin 1998). However, few studies have attempted to isolate the effects on children of direct victimization from the effects of witnessing the victimization of others. Sternberg, Lamb, Greenbaum, Cicchetti, Dawud, Cortes, Krispin, and Lorey ( 1993) found few differences in the increased behavioral problems and levels of aggression between those children who witnessed violence, those who were direct victims of violence, and those who were both witnesses and victims. Exposure to family violence is likely to be a traumatic event in children's lives that can contribute to trauma-reactive behaviors, such as aggression, withdrawal and depression, concentration and attention problems, antisocial behavior, anxiety states, and increased likelihood of delinquent behaviors in adolescents and juveniles (Echlin & Marshall, 1995; Graham-Hermann & Edelson, 2001; Holden, 1998; Kernic, Wolf, Holt, McKnight, Huebner, & Rivara, 2003; Loeber & Stouthamer-Loeber, 1986; McDonald, Jouriles, Norwood, Ware, & Ezell, 2000; Osofsky, 1998; Thornberry, 1994). The effects of exposure to family violence, like exposure to parental substance abuse, may be moderated by other mediating factors. The child's developmental stage and gender, the nature, intensity, and frequency ofthe violence, 49

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coping skills of the child and other family members subcultural and community violence and norms, levels of social and/or family support, and the time since the last exposure to violence, may lessen or intensify the effects of exposure to family violence (Carlson, 2000; Muller, Goebel-Fabbri, Diamond, and Dinklage, 2000; Edleson, 1999; Graham-Berrnann, 1998; Hughes, Parkinson, & Vargo, 1989 ). Children who are exposed to familial violence may also be forced to confront ambivalent feelings about their mothers and fathers. Smith Berthelsen, and O'Connor (1997), in interviews with children exposed to high levels of family violence, found a common theme of conflicting perceptions of violent parents, especially violent fathers. Some children reported anxiety about and being terrified of the violence while, at the same time, also expressing feeling of love for their fathers (Smith et al., 1997). In a study of 8to 12year old children of violent fathers, Sternberg, Lamb, Greenbaum, Dawud, Cortes, and Lorey (1994) stated that children, especially boys, who have been physically abused by their fathers often have ambivalent feelings toward their fathers. While these children reported negative characteristics of their fathers, they also reported as many positive characteristics as did the comparison children who were not physically abused by their fathers (Sternberg et al., 1994). Many of the studies ofchildren who witness domestic violence is limited in its generalizability by methodological problems that include research subjects who primarily are living in battered women's shelters and who may differ on several 50

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important variables from domestic violence victims not living in shelters, reliance on maternal reports of effects on children rather than on direct observations of the behaviors of the children, and small sample sizes (Carlson, 2000, Yexley, Borowsky, & Ireland, 2002). Despite these research limitations, domestic violence appears to correlate consistently with problem behaviors observed in child witnesses of family violence. The developmental stage of the child also seems to be a significant factor in the associated behaviors. Younger children often are fearful and anxious, may display aggressive behaviors, are likely to be highly active and are often diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and may have problems interacting with peers and adults (Fantuzzo, DePaola Lambert, Martino, Anderson, & Sutton, 1991; Laumakis, Margolin, & John, 1998 ). School-aged children may be aggressive and display violent tendencies, may exhibit conduct problems, may be fearful and anxious, and may have problems in school (Copping, 1996; Graham-Berman, 1998; Jouriles, Norwood, McDonald, Vincent, & Mahoney, 1996). Adolescents may engage in dating violence and other forms of aggression and violence, may be delinquent, may be depressed or suicidal, and may abuse substances (Graham Berman, 1998; Jouriles, et al., 1996; Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Monson, Meyer, Caster, & Sanders, 1998, Yexley et al., 2002). The children of men who abuse their intimate partners may also be at risk for exposure to fathers whose parenting style is significantly harsher than children of men who do not abuse their partners. In a study that utilized data from the National 51

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Survey of Families and Households, Fox and Benson (2004) found that while men who are violent with their domestic partners did not differ significantly in the amount of time they spent with their children, they viewed their children, even young children, in more negative terms and were more likely to use harsh parenting tactics, such as yelling and corporal punishment, than fathers who were not violent with their partners. Other studies of primarily clinical populations have found a significant risk that partner abuse and child abuse will co-occur (Holden & Barker, 2004). In a study of children referred for clinical services, Jouriles and Norwood (1995) reported that fathers who are physically abusive with their domestic partners physically abuse their sons more often than their daughters. Cummings, Pepler, and Moore (1999) found that male domestic violence perpetrators were more verbally aggressive with their daughters than with their sons. Holden and Barker (2004) state that an interaction effect has been observed by multiple researchers who have found that fathers are more likely to physically abuse their sons and mothers more likely to abuse their daughters. Much of the research into exposure to family violence suggests long-term effects of such exposure. However, Higgins and McCabe (200 l) state that many studies that attempt to link negative adult outcomes with childhood exposure to violence are methodologically flawed by the use of vague definitions that do not capture the severity of abuse, by failing to account for multiple forms of abuse and exposure to other traumatizing events, and by the use of convenience samples that 52

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frequently focus on women in clinical settings or college students. While researchers have consistently found higher levels of negative outcomes for adults who experienced varying types of severe childhood maltreatment there has been little empirical evidence that identifies the overlap of types of maltreatment and the relationship between such overlap and long-term adult adjustment (Higgins & McCabe, 2000a). Higgins and McCabe (200 l, p. 548) discuss the effects of exposure to "multi type maltreatment" and argue that the co-morbidity of various types of maltreatment may have a cumulative or interactive effect. In a community sample of 175 male and female respondents not selected on their basis of a history of maltreatment, Higgins and McCabe (2000b) found a high degree of overlap between adult's reports of sexual abuse, physical abuse, psychological maltreatment neglect, and witnessing family violence. Although the strongest correlation was between psychological maltreatment and physical abuse, significant correlations between all types of abuse indicated that rather than occurring in isolation, multiple forms of family violence often occur together (Higgins & McCabe, 2000b ). In a study that attempted to address some of the methodological challenges of many previous studies, Edwards, Holden, Felitti, and Anda (2003) conducted a retrospective study using a large sample of adults in a community HMO setting. Although there were also methodological problems with this study that included the inability to verify abuse, the inability to determine the severity of abuse, and the 53

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underrepresentation of minorities, younger individuals, and persons without access to quality health care, Edwards et al. (2003) reported that 21.6%, 20.6%, and 14% ofthe respondents stated they were exposed to childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, and witnessing maternal battering, respectively. Over one-third of those reporting exposure to abuse and maternal battering reported exposure to multiple forms of abuse. An important finding of this study was that of a dose-response relationship between the exposure to abuse and mental health scores: as the number of forms of abuse increased, mental health scores decreased, indicating increased levels of mental health problems in those who were exposed to more types of abuse (Edwards et al., 2003). Exposure to Community Violence Exposure to community violence may also be viewed as one of many risk factors that children growing up in disadvantaged communities face. In addition to high levels of community violence, disadvantaged communities often also have high levels of family violence (Benson et al., Morrison, 2000). As a result, children growing up in disadvantaged communities may be exposed to multiple types of violence. Elementary school-aged and younger children exposed to chronic community violence, such as frequent and continual exposure to the use of guns, knives, and random violence resulting in assaults, homicides, and funerals, often experience high levels of anxiety, sleep disturbances, difficulty paying attention in school, and 54

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symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Osofsky, 1995). However, the effects of exposure to community violence on young children are likely moderated by several factors, including having a supportive person in the environment, having a safe haven within the neighborhood that provides protection from violence, and having individual resources, such as an adaptable temperament, that allows for alternative ways of coping with violence (Osofsky, 1995). Older children may experience community violence differently from younger children. School-aged and adolescent children exposed to community violence frequently display depression, low self esteem, low social competence, poor school performance, and are at heightened risk for displaying trauma-related symptoms, antisocial criminal behavior, aggression, and risk-taking, especially if exposure to community violence is in addition to exposure to domestic violence, direct violent victimization, and association with criminal peers (Eitle & Turner, 2002, Morrison, 2000). Exposure to community violence has also been implicated in future antisocial behavior in urban male adolescents, regardless of whether there were high or low levels of family conflict within their homes (Miller, Wasserman, Neugebauer, Gorman-Smith, & Kamboukos, 1999). While social support appears to buffer the effects of exposure to domestic violence for older children, it does not effectively lessen the maladaptive effects of exposure to community violence (Muller et al., 2000). 55

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Exposure to Parental Mental fllness Mental illness defined in the 1997 BJS survey of State and Federal inmates as "a current mental or emotional condition or an overnight stay in a mental hospital or treatment program," was more common among inmate mothers than inmate fathers and more common among State inmate parents than among Federal inmate parents (Mwnola, 2000) A significant percentage of inmate parents reported histories of mental illness: 13% of the State inmate fathers and 23% ofthe State inmate mothers identified themselves as mentally ill while 6% of Federal inmates fathers and 10% of Federal inmate mothers reported a history of mental illness. In general slightly more than one-half of the inmate parents in both systems who reported a mental illness stated that they had spent at least one night in a mental hospital or treatment program indicating a mental disorder that was not effectively controlled in the community (Mwnola 2000). While the majority of inmate parents in this survey did not indicate they were suffering from any form of mental illness it is likely that an unknown nwnber of these individuals may have also met the criteria for various mental illnesses but had been neither diagnosed with a mental illness nor had spent time in a mental hospital or treatment program. Individuals with psychiatric disorders in racial and ethnic minorities and individuals in low SES groups consistently fail to be accurately identified as suffering from mental illnesses (Dohrenwend, 2000). The data collected in the 1997 BJS survey also do not indicate the types of mental illnesses that inmate 56

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parents reported. Since the behaviors associated with various forms of mental illness vary widely, it is impossible to identify the potential effects of parental mental illness on the children of mentally-ill incarcerated parents. The research focus on parental mental illness has predominately concentrated on mothers suffering from severe mental illnesses and the effects of their illness on their children: little is known about mentally ill fathers and their children (Nicholson, Nason, Calabres, & Y ando, 1999). In a large national study that identified the prevalence of parenthood in mentally ill individuals, Nicholson, Biebel, Katz-Leavy, and Williams (2004) found that males with serious and persistent mental illnesses were significantly more likely to be fathers than those who were neither mentally ill nor who suffered from substance abuse disorders. While the authors of this study did not identify why mentally ill men are more likely to be fathers, it may be that individuals suffering from mental illnesses may be more impulsive and less likely to plan for the future than men who are not mentally ill. Like the children of parents with severe substance abuse or dependency, the children of mentally ill fathers may be exposed to multiple other risk factors. Outcomes for children of mentally ill fathers are likely to vary widely, depending on moderating factors such as characteristics of the mental illness, effectiveness and availability oftreatment, and the nature of relationships within the family. However, environmental stressors such as poverty, low parental educational levels, and minority 57

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status increase the likelihood of negative outcomes for the children of mentally ill parents (Nicholson et al., 2004) In a systematic review of 62 surveys of male prisoners from 12 countries, Fazel and Danesh (2002) found that 3.7% of the men reported having been diagnosed with a psychotic illness, 10% with major depression, and 65% with a personality disorder, the majority of which, 45%, were diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD). Individuals diagnosed with ASPD are significantly overrepresented in correctional systems: ASPD occurs in only 3% ofmen and 1% of women in community samples (American Psychiatric Association, 2002). However, personality disorders are Axis II disorders that are considered to be maladaptive responses and possible defense mechanisms rather than Axis I clinical disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, which represent serious and persistent mental illness (American Psychiatric Association, 2002). The DSM-IV TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2002, p. 706) identify criteria that must be present for individuals to be diagnosed with ASPD, one of which is a "pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years ... The behaviors that are used to identify this criterion include failure to conform to social norms, deceitfulness, impulsivity, aggressiveness, disregard for the safety of others or oneself, consistent irresponsibility, and lack of remorse. While there has been disagreement over the accepted definitions and causes of antisocial behavior, studies utilizing psychiatric definitions of antisocial disorders 58

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identify a link between parent and child antisocial behaviors (Frick & Loney, 2002) A consistent pattern of Conduct Disorder (CD), the generally accepted childhood and adolescent precursor to ASPD, is seen in the children of individuals diagnosed with ASPD (Frick & Loney, 2002). Children diagnosed with CD exhibit persistent and repetitive patterns of behavior that violate social norms and result in significant problems in school or work and include aggression directed toward people and animals, destruction of property, deceitfulness, or theft (American Psychiatric Association 2002). While the majority of children diagnosed with CD become socially adjusted by adulthood, a significant percentage, especially when onset of symptoms are prior to the age of I 0, will continue to show patterns of antisocial behaviors into adulthood that meet the criteria for ASPD (American Psychiatric Association, 2002). Children of men who are sentenced to prison, especially those fathers who meet the criteria for an ASPD diagnosis, may be at increased risk for exhibiting behaviors and attitudes that meet the diagnostic criteria for CD and later ASPD, which, is turn, is highly correlated with in an increased risk for incarceration. Exposure to Family Instability Family instability has been conceptualized by various researchers as an aggregate of variables that affect the daily continuity and cohesiveness of family life and that result in a chronically chaotic lifestyle (Ackerman, Kogos, Youngstrom, Schaff, & Izard, 1999). Indicators of family instability include residential mobility; 59

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the nwnber of intimate adult relationships involving the primary caregiver; the nwnber of family members with whom a child has lived; serious childhood illnesses; and other negative life events such as the death or prolonged absence of family members (Ackerman et al., 1999) Other conceptualizations of family instability include divorce or separation; remarriage or the arrival of a new partner; temporary parent-child separation; birth of a sibling or the arrival of a new child, such as a stepsibling in the home; and parental job loss or change of employment that results in a significant change in the number of hours spent at work (Cavanagh & Huston 2000). When other at-risk variables are controlled, family instability has been consistently linked to both internalizing problem behaviors, such as substance abuse and suicide ideation, and externalizing problem behaviors, such as oppositional behavior and aggression (Ackerman et al., 1999; Cavanagh & Huston, 2000; Milan & Pinderhughes, 2006) and an increased risk for adolescent psychological problems (Forman & Davies, 2003). However, moderating factors such as material and emotional resources may buffer the effects of family instability (Cavanagh & Huston (2000) While residential instability has been identified as a variable used to measure family instability, identifying residential instability as a risk factor by itself may be problematic and misleading. Poverty-stricken families may remain in one location for many years in substandard housing in high-crime areas. Children whose parents move frequently as the result of military service or job-related relocations may 60

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frequently change residences but may experience higher levels of family stability than their residential instability might indicate. Nonetheless, residential instability may create other challenges for children. Residential moves may break the friendship ties that children have within their schools and communities (Cavanagh & Huston 2000). Children who experience residential changes that are accompanied by other changes in the family structure and functioning are likely to be at increased risk for problems in school and maladaptive adjustment (Ackerman et al., 1999). Exposure to Criminal Activity and Familial Incarceration The frequently noted phenomenon of intergenerational incarceration has long been recognized by both criminal justice scholars and society as a whole (Glueck & Glueck, 1950; Farrington Gundry, & West 1975; Osborn & West, 1979, Rowe & Farrington 1997). While many studies have identified intergenerational and familial incarceration as common, data are not routinely collected on family members of incarcerated persons that could provide conclusive information about familial incarceration. Disentangling the effects of paternal incarceration from the plethora of other risk factors that are common among incarcerated populations, such as poverty, poor parental supervision, parental criminality, failure in school, lack of legitimate opportunities, drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, and influence of criminal or delinquent peers, is difficult. Combined with the lack of data and the difficulty in identifying potential study participants, these research challenges have prevented a systematic investigation of the issues surrounding intergenerational incarceration. 61

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Studies of familial incarceration outside of the United States have established strong links between incarceration of family members and the likelihood of delinquency in adolescent males. As early as 1952, Ferguson (1952) demonstrated that the percentage of juveniles convicted of crimes increased with each additional convicted family member Other British researchers have also found that convictions and incarceration often run in families (Farrington, 1995; West & Farrington 1977). Suggested reasons for the lack of such studies of familial incarceration in the United States include the difficulty in adequately searching criminal records due to the fragmented nature ofthe American criminal justice system, the mobility of the American population, and the blending of many families that make it difficult to identify family members (Farrington, Jolliffe, Loeber Stouthamer-Loeber, & Kalb, 2001). Despite the difficulties of conducting familial criminality research in the United States and the limitations of such studies, Farrington et al. (200 1) found that arrestees were highly concentrated in families and that arrested family members frequently included parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. In a longitudinal study of boys in Pittsburgh, the authors found that 8% of all families in the study accounted for 43% of all arrested persons, an average of five arrested persons per family (Farrington et al., 2001). While the arrest of one member of a family increased the likelihood of another family member's arrest, the father's arrest predicted the boy's delinquency independent of arrests of any other relative 62

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(Farrinton et al., 2001). Farrington et al. (2001) offer suggestions to explain the small percentage of families accounting for a large percentage of arrests that include poverty and disadvantaged communities, poor parenting practices, and sexual partners who tend to be similar in their antisocial attitudes and behaviors and may thus produce children who are disproportionately raised in antisocial environments. Patterson, Reid, and Dishion (1992), in a longitudinal study in Oregon of the development of antisocial behavior in boys, examined relationships among the variables that contribute to antisocial behavior and delinquency, including antisocial parents, social disadvantage, academic failure, deviant peers, and ineffective parenting. One of the issues addressed in this research is the identification of which families are most likely to fail in their efforts to control antisocial behavior. While the focus of this research is on parenting practices and attempts to control antisocial behavior rather than on the identification of how antisocial parents transmit their attitudes and beliefs to their children, the authors note that children raised in households in which adherence to conventional values and norms are absent are likely to adopt the values and norms of their caregivers and that parents who are aggressive and engage in criminal lifestyles model these behaviors for their children (Patterson, et al, 1992). Childhood Adversity Childhood adversity, in its many forms, has consistently been linked to higher levels of negative outcomes for adults (Dohrenwend, 2000). Dohrenwend's (2000, p. 63

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14) theoretical perspective proposes that the wider environment, including advantages or disadvantages that result from gender, racial or ethnic status, and theSES in which a child is raised, affects the "ongoing" situation, the state of normality for that individual. The combination of the wider environment and the ongoing situation interacts with the individual's personal predisposition, the occurrence of negative life events, the individual's appraisal of the events, and the individual's coping mechanisms, which in turn leads to either adaptive or maladaptive responses to negative life events. Similar to Carlson and Cervera's ( 1992, p. 19) "pile-up" of negative circumstances, Dohrenwend's (2000) theoretical perspective of childhood adversity implies that the children of incarcerated fathers may be at additional risk for maladaptive outcomes if their wider environment places them at an initial disadvantage and if their ongoing situation and personal predispositions do not provide them with the support and ability to cope with negative life events. Chapman, Whitfield, Felitti, Dube, Edwards and Anda (2004), in a large community health study, investigated the link between adverse childhood experiences, defined as childhood emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, exposure to battering of the mother figure, household substance abuse, parental separation or divorce, family incarceration, and mental illness in the household, and the prevalence of a major depressive disorder The findings included a strong graded relationship between the number of adverse childhood experiences and lifetime depressive disorders for both men and women, suggesting multiple forms of abuse or household 64

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dysfunction during childhood may be significant risk factors for later negative mental health outcomes in adulthood (Chapman et al., 2004). While this study did not identify which adverse childhood experiences were the strongest predictors of lifetime depressive disorders, the identification of a positive correlation between the of number of exposures to adverse childhood experience and likelihood of major depressive disorders was significant. In addition to an increased risk for negative psychological outcomes, Felitti, Anda, Nordenberg, Williamson, Spitz, Edwards, Koss, and Marks (1998), in a large community study that investigated the relationship between health risk behaviors and disease in adulthood and the exposure to childhood emotional, physical, or sexual abuse and household dysfunction, found a strong graded relationship between the breadth of exposure to family dysfunction and childhood maltreatment and multiple risk factors for several of the leading causes of death in adults. Seven categories of adverse childhood exposures where identified: measures of childhood abuse included questions about psychological abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse while categories of household dysfunction included questions regarding exposure to substance abuse, exposure to mental illness, violent treatment of the mother figure, and family imprisonment As the number of childhood exposures increased, both risky behaviors such as smoking, alcoholism, use of illicit drugs, injection of illicit drugs, having fifty or more sexual partners, and the prevalence of severe obesity, depressed mood, suicide attempts, and a history of sexually transmitted diseases 65

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increased (Felitti et al., 1998). Felitti et al. (1998) also found a significant relationship between the number of childhood exposures and many of the leading causes of death, including heart disease cancer, chronic bronchitis or emphysema, and a history of hepatitis. Conclusion In general the psychological criminal justice, and child welfare literature all imply that the children of incarcerated fathers are likely at high risk for negative outcomes from exposure to multiple risk factors before the incarceration of the father However the research findings tell us little about the lives of these children prior to and after the incarceration of the fathers and how these children are affected if at all by the imprisonment of their fathers. While there are many theories that seek to explain the development and persistence of delinquent and criminal behaviors, many point to the parent-child relationship as central to the process. It is generally acknowledged that children who grow up in families and communities where law breaking and incarceration are the norm are at increased risk to become involved in the criminal justice system However theory development and explanatory research that establishes the causal path by which this process takes place has yet to be undertaken. While parental incarceration appears to be a significant risk factor for later negative outcomes for children, the process by which incarcerated fathers influence their children has not been identified. 66

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Researchers face significant difficulties when attempting to conduct research with this population. Identifying and sampling children who are not involved in social service agencies or the criminal justice system is a challenge. Identifying and isolating the roles multiple variables play in the development of negative outcomes and establishing the causal pathways by which some children follow in their fathers' footsteps is well beyond the our current capabilities. At this point in the development of theories related to the effects of paternal incarceration, we must first improve our understanding of the life experiences of the children of incarcerated fathers and the nature ofthe parent-child relationship in order to recognize how, and if, such factors place some children at high risk for future involvement in the criminal justice system. 67

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CHAPTER3 METHODOLOGY A review of the literature that directly or peripherally concerns the children of incarcerated fathers provides insights into possible effects of paternal incarceration and additional risk factors to which these children might be exposed. Such a review, however, raises more questions than it answers. Speculation about the response of children to paternal incarceration abounds, but very little empirical evidence from research directly focused on the children themselves is available. Without studies that investigate the perceptions of the children who have lived with fathers who went to prison, rather than the perceptions of incarcerated fathers or the children's caregivers, we have an incomplete picture of how children might respond to paternal incarceration and the role it might play in the lives of these children. Since theory development regarding the children of incarcerated fathers is in its infancy, research design options are limited. If the focus of the research is on expanding our understanding how children of incarcerated fathers themselves view the effects of their fathers' imprisonment, exploratory ethnographic research methods that use qualitative data and data collection methods are appropriate While ethnography has traditionally referred to field research that includes participatory methods, the term has also been applied to one-time intensive interviews in which the 68

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researcher seeks to understand the subjective reality of the participants rather than the objective nature of historical events (Becker, 1996). The focus of such ethnographic research is to interpret the meaning that respondents give to events in their lives and to disseminate these meanings to a larger audience (Becker, 1996). The use of a subjective oral history is also an appropriate way to provide a voice for largely ignored or forgotten groups and individuals (Fontana & Frey, 1994). As members of a subpopulation that has traditionally been overlooked, the children of incarcerated fathers are invisible and silent. By providing them a voice through the use of subjective oral life histories that allow for a glimpse into their world, we may obtain a more complete understanding of how they interpret events in their lives and how they perceive that these events have affected them. The details in such accounts are unable to be confirmed and methodological concerns surrounding the reliability of unverifiable retrospective accounts abound. While an autobiographical narrative may represent the subjective reality of the narrator, it may also not accurately reflect actual historical events. Rather than recalling events as they happened, narrators selectively recall events that hold continued importance and tell stories of their past that make sense to them (Burr & Butt, 2000). However, if the focus of the research is on how individuals interpret events in order to provide meaning for their lives, the factual basis for their stories may be of lesser concern. 69

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Formulating a Research Design Grounded theory, as first described by Glaser and Strauss (1967), is a means of using social science data to discover theory. The original concept of grounded theory was of the researcher beginning an area of study without a preconceived theory or an extensive knowledge of the phenomenon of interest and allowing the theory to emerge from the data. However, the concept of grounded theory has evolved over time. Researchers, according to Glaser (1978), are best served by having a partial understanding of general concepts but not well served by conducting an extensive review of the literature prior to beginning their study. The literature review should be used to gain an overall understanding once the phenomenon of interest has been identified through data collection and analysis. Theory generation thus evolves from observations, supplemented at a later date by a thorough knowledge of the literature. While grounded theory still is at the heart of inductive research, the use of a literature review prior to data collection has gained acceptance among some proponents of grounded theory (Strauss, 1987; Strauss & Corbin, 1990). However, the literature review should not be so extensive that a theory arises from the literature review rather than from the data themselves. Strauss and Corbin's (1990) approach involves using the literature to identify the phenomenon of interest rather than allowing the phenomenon to emerge from the data. Although this approach differs significantly from Glaser's ( 1978) conceptualization of grounded theory, since the 70

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children of incarcerated fathers are likely exposed to many other confounding factors that might also be used to explain outcomes, I felt it was important to conduct an extensive literature review of other possible risk factors prior to starting my research. In addition, since I have worked with individuals in my target population in the past, I was likely tainted by my experiences from a pure grounded theory perspective. Therefore, I used a more structured approach prior to beginning my data collection than that proposed by Glaser (1978). Research Theory Denzin (200 1) argues that the first step in formulating a qualitative research project is framing the research issue, which starts with conceptualizing the phenomenon of interest. Denzin (200 1, p. 72) states "The question that the researcher frames must be a how question and not a why question. Interpretive studies examine how problematic, turning-point experiences are organized, perceived, constructed, and given meaning by interacting individuals." In this process, the researcher seeks out subjects who elaborate and further define the problem under investigation (Denzin, 2001 ). Since the experts on the lives of the children of incarcerated fathers are the children themselves, they are the natural source for information about their lives and the role paternal incarceration played in their lives. The second stage in framing a research issue is acquiring a thorough understanding of how the phenomenon has been studied and presented in the past, including the preconceptions and biases that surround the existing understanding 71

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(Denzin, 2001 ). The literature that addresses the incarceration of parental figures is filled with conjecture on the effects of parental incarceration. However, much of what is presented is from the perspective of the incarcerated parent or the children s caregivers and may represent biases that do not accurately portray how the children of incarcerated fathers themselves view the effects of these events. The third stage, capturing the phenomenon of interest involves "securing multiple cases and personal histories that embody the phenomenon in question . locating the crises and epiphanies of the lives of the persons being studied ... [and] obtaining multiple personal experience stories .. from the subjects in question concerning the topic or topics under investigation" (Denzin 2001, p. 76). Lengthy and intensive interviews with individuals who are intimately familiar with the topic under investigation should provide data that can enhance our understanding of the phenomenon of interest. Although qualitative research is a reiterative theory-building exercise (Miles & Hubennan, 1994 ), theory guides the research from its inception (Vaughan, 1992). Vaughan (1992, p 175) states: We analyze the cases sequentially. We treat each case independently of others, respecting its uniqueness so that the idiosyncratic details can maximize our theoretical insight. As the analysis proceeds the guiding theoretical notions are assessed in the light of the findings .. [T]he data can contradict or reveal previously unseen inadequacies in the theoretical notions guiding the research providing a basis for reassessment or rejection ; the data can confirm the theory ; the data can also force us to create a new hypotheses, adding detail to the theory, model or concept, more fully specifying it. 72

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In utilizing such an approach, theoretically expected findings must not blind the researcher to what the data are trying to tell. However, it is difficult for researchers to ignore their personal experiences and knowledge of prior research. Biases can be ignored, making us more likely to see what we unconsciously hope to see, or they can be acknowledged, allowing us to be aware of them and to be more careful in interpreting the data (Vaughan, 1992). As a person who has experience working with children and families involved with the Dependency and Neglect courts, incarcerated populations, and juvenile offenders, I was forced to confront my sympathies and biases toward these populations (See Appendix C). While not able to ignore my knowledge and experiences, I attempted to prevent them from seriously compromising my observations and analyses by acknowledging them and continually asking myself if I thought other researchers who did not have my experiences would reach similar findings. While every child's experience of paternal incarceration will differ, it is likely that common features exist. Since substance abuse is widespread in the incarcerated population, it is likely that children of incarcerated parents are at high risk for exposure to parental substance abuse. Criminogenic attitudes and behaviors are also common among prison inmates, making it likely that children of prison inmates may be exposed to these risk factors. Other variables, including high levels of family and residential instability, exposure to parental mental illnesses, loss of income, 73

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separation trauma, problems in school, and association with delinquent peers may be common in the children of incarcerated fathers and may have effects independent of the phenomenon of interest. The incarceration of the father figure may be just one of many risk factors to which these children are exposed or may not be a risk factor at all. Life Trajectories and Turning Points A theory that may be useful in interpreting life history data is that of life trajectories and turning points, two intertwined concepts described by Wheaton and Gotlib (1997). They argue that a life trajectory is "the stable component of a direction toward a life destination and is characterized by a given probability of occurrence" (Wheaton & Gotlib, 1997, p. 2). While it is impossible to determine where exactly a life trajectory will lead, Wheaton and Gotlib (1997, p. 2) maintain that the nature of a trajectory has a "built-in" process, and that the longer the individual stays on one path, such as continuing educational achievement, the more likely it is that certain outcomes will occur. They argue that early experiences in the life course will make a greater difference with respect to outcomes than experiences that occur later in life and that the mechanisms of stressful experiences "underscore the chain reaction notion of a trajectory: once a trajectory is defined, events tend to have accumulating consequence," (Wheaton & Gotlib, 1997, p. 2). Although all children whose fathers are incarcerated are on individual life trajectories, common characteristics may predict where those trajectories lead. Some 74

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children, raised in environments where they are exposed to multiple known risk factors such as violence, substance abuse, and criminality, may be on life paths that predict negative outcomes such as academic failure, delinquency, association with delinquent peers, substance abuse, antisocial behavior, criminality, mental health problems, academic failure, social disadvantage, and juvenile and criminal justice system involvement (Ackerman et al., 1999; Anda et al., 2002; Bolger & Patterson, 2004; Cavanagh & Huston, 2000; Chassin et al., 1993; Dodge et al., 1990; Echlin & Marshall, 1995; Eitle & Turner, 2002; English et al., 2003; Farrington et al., 2001; Feig, 1998; Finn et al., 2000; Giancola et al., 1999; Graham-Bermann & Edelson, 2001; Holden, 1998; Jacob et al, 1999; Johnson & Leff, 1999; Kernic et al., 2003; Loeber & Stouthamer-Loeber, 1986; McDonald et al., 2000; McMahon & Luthar, 1998; Milan & Pinderhughes, 2006; Miles et al., 1998; Miller et al., 1999; Morrison, 2000; Osofsky, 1995; Osofsky, 1998; Patterson et al., 1992; Sher et al., 1991; Sternberg et al., 1993; Thornberry, 1994). Other children, exposed to fewer risk factors, may have life trajectories that can lead in many different directions and outcomes that are not as easily predictable. Children raised in environments in which they are exposed to socially accepted norms and sufficient numbers of developmental assets such as family support, commitment to learning, peaceful conflict resolution, and positive peer and adult role models, are likely to not engage in risky behaviors that are linked to delinquency and later negative outcomes (Akers, 1985; Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990; Hirschi, 1969; Kohn, 1977; Leffert, Benson, Scales, Sharma, Drake, 75

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& Blyth, 1998; Patterson, DeBaryshe, & Ramsey, 1989; Sampson & Laub 1993). Identifying exposure to known risk and protective factors in the life histories of children of incarcerated fathers prior to, during, and after the father's incarceration is important, especially if assumptions are made about possible life trajectories based on exposure to risk factors. Carlson and Cervera ( 1992, p. 19) refer to the "pile-up" of damaging events and circumstances in the lives of persons facing adversity as increasing the likelihood that they will experience negative outcomes. Exploring the life histories of study participants allows the opportunity to identify the existence of various potential risk factors. If Carlson and Cervera (1992) are correct, I would expect to find those study participants who were exposed to multiple risk factors experiencing more negative outcomes than those who were exposed to few. Turning points are more difficult to define and, given the retrospective nature of identifying turning points, often problematic (Wheaton & Gotlib, 1997). However, a turning point, defined as "a change in direction in the life course, with respect to a previously established trajectory," may be an event that has long-term consequences and may place an individual on a new life trajectory (Wheaton & Gotlib, 1997, p. 2). If exposure or lack of exposure to risk factors predicts potential outcomes, turning points that have the capacity to alter the life trajectory may serve as important markers when attempting to identify effects of specific events. 76

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Many of the children of incarcerated parents are likely on life trajectories that predict negative outcomes long before the incarceration of their fathers. For some children, the incarceration may represent a turning point, while for others, different events may signal significant changes in their lives. Although the concepts of life trajectories and turning points may serve as useful frameworks for designing research and analyzing life history data, the researcher must be aware of and avoid forcing qualitative data to fit preconceived theories when such interpretations are not warranted (Wolcott, 1994), such as identifying a turning point when an event does not lead to a change in the life trajectory. The incarceration of a father may serve as a turning point if the child s life trajectory changes by increasing or decreasing the child s exposure to risk factors. The incarceration of a father who is the primary financial support for a family may represent a turning point in a negative direction if the father-child relationship was positive and the child is later exposed to additional risk factors associated with the loss of financial support. The incarceration may matter little if the child's exposure to risk factors does not change. The incarceration of an antisocial father who victimizes a child may represent a turn in a positive direction for the child, if the risk factors to which the child is exposed are reduced. Although exploratory research is not predictive in nature and is a theory-building exercise, if evidence is found that indicates that the incarceration event may signal a change in a child's life trajectory 77

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that is associated with additional or new risk factors, additional research and policy interest in these children may be warranted. Research Design The research design for the current research is a case study. Walton (1992, p. 125-126) argues that: ... as we begin to reflect on the state of general knowledge in social science, it is clear that much of what we know derives from classic case studies ... these kinds of case studies become classic because they provide models capable of instructive transferability to other settings. While generalizability is not a stated goal for case studies, they should when properly undertaken, provide some understanding about other similarly situated individuals. Berg (2001, p. 232) states: ... few human behaviors are unique, idiosyncratic, and spontaneous ... if this were the case, the attempt to undertake any type of survey research on an aggregate group would be useless ... If we accept the notions that human behavior is predictable -a necessary assumption for all behavior science research-then it is a simple jump to accept that case studies have scientific value. Flyvbjerg (2001, p. 82) notes that a concern voiced about case study research is the natural human bias toward verification rather than falsification and that case studies are inappropriate for theory testing because they may be more subject to the researcher's subjective and arbitrary judgment than other methods. However, he also argues that qualitative researchers typically report that their preconceived views and assumptions were challenged by their data (Flyvbjerg, 2001). Flyvbjerg (2002, p. 166) also contends that important questions are ones that "matter to the local, 78

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national, and global communities in which we live." Flyvbjerg (2002, p. 166) warns that the drive to "emulate natural science's success in producing cumulative and predictive theory" has forced social sciences to focus on narrow and unimportant questions since broad and important questions generally cannot be answered by the parsimonious perspective of a quantitative approach. Flyvbjerg (2002) argues that social science should be used to illuminate important issues and to inform the public and decision-makers of processes that may not be readily visible. A case study design requires an in-depth analysis both within individual cases and between individual cases (Eisenhardt, 2002). The goal of the within-case analysis is immersion in the data, allowing the researcher to become intimately familiar with and to recognize unique characteristics in each case (Eisenhardt, 2002) Such an immersion also alerts the researcher to unexpected findings that may not flt with the preconceived ideas of what the data might reveal. The between-case analysis is at the heart of theory building, as the patterns emerge from comparing the individual with-in case analyses (Eisenhardt, 2002). However a primary danger that researchers face and to which they must be alert is unintentionally ignoring disconfirming evidence in their eagerness to find support for either their preconceived ideas or their developing theories (Nisbett & Ross, 1980) Since inductive qualitative research does not involve statistical analyses that require specific sample sizes to reduce threats to statistical conclusion validity and to ensure robustness, it is up to the researcher to determine an appropriate sample size 79

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Researchers add new cases until the data become repetitious and a saturation point, the time when key concepts have been identified and after which no new data emerge, has been reached (Ragin, 1994). In addition, continuing data collection beyond the saturation point may place the researcher in danger of losing his or her perspective as a researcher (Hesse-Biber & Leavy, 2006). However, Ragin (1994) also notes that a danger inherent in qualitative sampling techniques is prematurely reaching a point of saturation if the cases selected for study are not sufficiently representative of various manifestations of the phenomenon of interest. Sampling Purposive sampling, a non-probability sampling technique in which subjects are sought out based on a common characteristic is a technique often used in qualitative research (Patton, 2002) It is useful for identifying what is common among subjects, for identifying maximum variation along a specific variable for confirming or disconfirming expected results, and for identifying exceptions that can lead to unexpected findings. While it does not assure a representative sample, if properly constructed, a purposive sample can increase variability by seeking out subjects who, while sharing the common variable of interest differ on other characteristics. Snowball sampling, an additional non-probability sampling technique, is a method often used to reach marginalized populations (Atkinson & Flint 2001). The traditional use of snowball sampling involves utilizing the social networks among 80

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hard-to-reach populations by obtaining referral information from current participants. However, for snowball sampling to be effective, social networks must exist between potential study participants. Unlike drug users or gang members who often have contacts within a subculture, the children of incarcerated fathers do not necessarily come together because of their common bond of paternal incarceration, thus limiting the utility of snowball sampling for my research. While several of the study participants likely knew other children of incarcerated fathers other than their siblings, several stated that discussing their fathers was not something frequently done in their social circles and that they did not know if they had friends who had also experienced paternal incarceration. Snowball sampling was primarily used in my attempts to gain access to adult children through their incarcerated fathers. Purposive sampling was my primary sampling method. I knew if I received permission to interview individuals currently incarcerated, I could easily find a sufficient number of study participants. I also knew that if I sought out individuals currently experiencing other contact with the criminal justice system, such as those involved with the Division of Youth Corrections or persons on probation or parole, I would likely have access to sufficient numbers of potential study participants for my research purposes. However, I was concerned that I would be limiting my research to only those individuals who followed in their fathers' footstep if all of my sample was drawn from individuals involved with the criminal justice system. Since not all children of incarcerated fathers have such negative outcomes, I attempted to 81

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maximize the variability of my sample by reaching out to various organizations, some of which were likely to have contacts with potential study participants who were more difficult to identify. Sample Twenty males and five females volunteered to be interviewed (see Table 3.1). Ages of study participants ranged between 18 and 45: six were 18, three were 19, two were 20, three were 21, two were 22, two were 23, two were 24, two were 26, one was 28, one was 42, and one was 45. Eleven of the male subjects were White, six were African American, two were Hispanic, and one was Native American. Three of the female subjects were African American, one was White, and one was Hispanic. Eight of the subjects were staying at a homeless shelter, six were in jail, four were living on their own, four were living with a spouse, partner, or family member, two were living on college campuses, and one was in a substance abuse treatment facility. Twelve of the twenty-five subjects, nine males and three females, were contacted through a homeless shelter that provides housing, educational, employment, and counseling services for young homeless adults. Not all of these study participants were staying at the shelter at the time of the interview. Four of the males had obtained housing through the shelter and were living on their own. Ages of the subjects affiliated with the homeless shelter were between eighteen and twenty-two. Four of the male subjects were White, two were African American, two were Hispanic, and one was Native American. All of the female subjects affiliated with the 82

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homeless shelter were African American. Two were eighteen years old and one was nineteen. Table 3.1 Characteristics of study participants (see Appendix 8.1) Male Female Total (n = 20) (n = 5) (n = 25) Average Age at time of interview 24 19 23 White 11 1 12 Race/Ethnicity African American 6 3 9 Hispanic 2 1 3 Native American 1 0 1 No GED/H.S. diploma 3 1 4 Education GED 6 0 6 High school diploma 4 2 6 Some college 7 2 9 Homeless shelter 5 3 8 Housing at Jail 6 0 6 time of College campus 1 1 2 interview Own residence, no partner 4 0 4 With spouse/partner 2 1 3 With mother 1 0 1 In-patient treatment 1 0 1 Six male subjects were recruited from a local jail. Ages ofthese subjects ranged between twenty-one and forty-two. Five were White and one was AfricanAmerican. All of the White participants were between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-six while the African American participant was forty-two. All were serving their sentences in the county jail and all had prior incarcerations. One study participant, a twenty-three-year-old White male who was recruited though his inmate father, was interviewed in a treatment facility for drug addicts. Another White male subject, living with his mother, was twenty-four-year-old and 83

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was also recruited through his inmate father. One forty-five-year-old African American male was contacted through a parole office. Four college students, two African American males, one age 28 and the other age 21, one Hispanic female, age 24, and one White female, age 18, also participated in the study. Subject Recruitment Previous researchers investigating inmate-family relationships report challenges in obtaining participants. Girshick (1996), Carlson and Cervera (1992), and Fishman (1990) found that locating the wives of inmates was difficult since many of them did not live in the area of the study, did not have telephones, or were legally separated from the inmate and were not interested in maintaining the relationship. Some wives were reluctant to discuss stigmatizing events with strangers. Various recruiting methods were employed, including notification of the studies in prisoner resource guides, postings at prisoner advocate organization locations, and identifying wives through inmates in prisons (Girshick, 1996; Carlson & Cervera, 1992; Fishman, 1990). The principal challenge researchers who attempt to investigate the lives of the families or children of incarcerated fathers face is the difficulty of identifying potential study participants who are not easily identifiable. Those children who have not come to the attention of various governmental of non-governmental organizations and who do not advertise the imprisonment of their fathers are virtually invisible. I was prepared by the review of the literature for challenges in identifying and 84

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recruiting study participants leading conventional lives who shared the phenomenon of interest but who also might provide wider variation on a number of other variables. I approached multiple agencies and organizations in my search for potential study participants. I submitted a "Call for Participants" (see Appendix A) though a newsletter published by Colorado CURE, an inmate and inmate family advocacy organization that publishes a quarterly newsletter. Since participation in this research was necessarily voluntary I did not ask for contact information for the adult children, but asked that my contact information be passed on to the adult children Although I received several responses from incarcerated fathers stating that they had given my name and contact information to their adult children, I was contacted by only two male adult children through this means who were able to participate in the study. I also contacted an organization that works with inmates and inmate families in an adjacent state. I made a trip to visit the director and board of directors for this organization in the hope that they could identify individuals who might be willing to participate in my research Although they were interested in my research and took copies of my Call for Participants, I was not contacted by anyone through their organization. I met with parole officers from the Colorado Department of Corrections, several of whom expressed interest in my research. They took my Call for Participants and stated they would keep them on hand to give to potential study participants or the parents of potential study participants. This approach resulted in 85

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four contacts by persons on parole. However, I was able to meet with and interview only one male parolee: one female parolee failed to arrive for the scheduled interview and did not return subsequent telephone calls, one male parolee was returned to custody before I could interview him, and another male parolee had given me a cell phone number that was no longer working when I called to arrange a meeting. Obtaining permission to interview inmates in the Colorado Department of Corrections is difficult, time-consuming, and often futile. I decided early in my research to not attempt such an approach, although I knew from having worked with individuals in the Department Of Corrections that familial incarceration is common. In lieu of interviewing prison inmates, I approached a county jail administration to request conducting research with inmates. The administrators were extremely helpful and gave me access to their jail population. I was allowed to address inmates in several units and describe my research. Eight male inmates volunteered to participate and I was able to interview six. One was transferred to the Department of Corrections before I could interview him and another was subsequently placed in the Special Housing Unit and was not available for an interview. None of the female inmates I addressed indicated that their fathers had been in prison when they were children. The Division of Youth Corrections (DYC) frequently has juveniles and young adults in its facilities or on parole whose fathers have been in prison, which I knew from conversations with DYC personnel. While the administrators at DYC were willing to allow me to conduct interviews with their clients, I was told that it would 86

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be necessary for DYC to have a staff person sit in on interviews. DYC administrators expressed concerns about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIP AA) requirements because I might be discussing substance abuse and mental health issues with respondents Since I would not be able to provide any level of confidentiality in such a situation, I did not interview any of the DYC clients. I was concerned that as a White middle-aged female I would have a particularly difficult time accessing minority children of incarcerated fathers Faith based organizations frequently work with minority inmate families and offenders returning to their communities. I knew several individuals in faith-based organizations from other projects on which I had worked and was hopeful that I could gain entry to these communities through my contacts. I was told by my contacts that it was unlikely individuals associated with these organizations would be willing to speak with me, since, according to my contacts, family members of incarcerated persons are reluctant to speak to outsiders about familial incarceration. My contacts served as gatekeepers to the members of their organizations and while they were willing to take my Call for Participants, they were unwilling to allow me to address meetings at which members or other individuals in contact with their organizations were in attendance. These attempts did not result in contact by any potential study participants. Although I was limited to interviewing adult children over the age of 18, I knew that public schools might have students over the age of 18 who had experienced 87

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paternal incarceration. I contacted counselors in several schools and was told that while counselors could not identify those students over the age of 18 who had experienced paternal incarceration, they could take my Call for Participants and display it on bulletin boards in their offices. I was not contacted by any potential study participants through any public school system. Urban Peak, a not-for-profit agency that provides shelter, housing, educational, employment, and case management services for homeless and runaway youths in Denver, frequently has clients who have experienced parental incarceration. Agency personnel allowed me to present information about my research at public meal times at their facility and ask if any of their clients who experienced paternal incarceration when they were children were interested in participating in my research. This population is highly mobile and several potential participants who indicated they were willing to participate failed to arrive for appointments for interviews or were no longer in the area shortly after agreeing to participate. I was able to conduct twelve interviews with Urban Peak clients The greatest challenge I faced in my study was finding and interviewing adult children of incarcerated fathers who were not involved with governmental or not-for profit organizations. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview four college students whose fathers had been in prison. First as an adjunct faculty member in criminal justice programs and later an assistant professor, I had students who knew about my research interest. I was also able to distribute information about my 88

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research on one college's webpage. A few students informed me that their fathers had gone to prison when they were young and asked if I would like to interview them. Had I not had access to these students, my sample would have consisted almost entirely of individuals who were homeless in treatment, incarcerated, or otherwise struggling and who were more easily identifiable because of the multiple challenges they were facing. Even though I was able to identify four college students, I was unable to devise a method to identify potential study participants who were not in college, who were not in institutions, or who were not accessing services through not-for-profit organizations. My sample is heavily skewed towards those who are doing poorly with a small representation of those who are doing well and with no representation of those children of incarcerated fathers who fall between these two extremes My sample is primarily male. This distribution was not by design but should not be surprising. Since the my primary sources for study participants were a jail facility and a not-for-profit agency that provides services for high-risk juveniles and young adults, both of which have a significant overrepresentation of males, the possibility of finding females who had experienced paternal incarceration were significantly reduced. However, when considering intergenerational incarceration, since males are significantly overrepresented in the inmate population male children of incarcerated fathers may be of greater concern Therefore, a sample that is heavily 89

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skewed toward males may be an appropriate sample for the purposes of the current research. Sample Limitations The original proposal for the current study presented to the Human Subjects Research Committee (HSRC) for the University of Colorado at Denver requested permission to interview both individuals over the age of 18 who had experienced the incarceration of their fathers when they were children and caregivers for children whose fathers are currently incarcerated. Ideally, I would have liked to interview children whose fathers are currently in prison, but knowing that IRB approval for research using minor subjects is difficult to obtain for fear of psychological harm to subjects I assumed that such research was not likely to be approved. As a result I designed a retrospective study using adult children and supplementing the retrospective data with data provided by caregivers for children currently experiencing paternal incarceration. The HSRC approved my research using adult children but was unwilling to approve current caregivers as study participants. I was unable to provide adequate assurances of protection from harm for these potential respondents that were acceptable to the HSRC. The concern appeared to center on the potential harm to the children of incarcerated fathers rather than the harm to the proposed respondents: psychological or physical harm to the children might result if the caregivers were somehow harmed by my interview with them. Consequently, I was left with relying 90

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entirely upon adult memories of childhood experiences, thus producing unverifiable retrospective data. The greatest challenge I faced in this research was obtaining a sample that was not merely a homogeneous convenience sample. A homogenous sample can reduce variation within a sample, which may be desirable if the focus of a study is limited to individuals in a particular subpopulation who have not only the phenomenon of interest in common but who also have common attributes on additional variables (HesseBiber & Leavy, 2006). At the exploratory stage in theory development, however, such a homogeneous sample would likely blind the researcher to the variability that likely occurs within the larger population that shares the phenomenon of interest. Subjects should be sought who have the phenomenon of interest in common but also who provide maximum variation on other variables, some of which may be highly correlated with the primary variable of interest (Ragin, 1994). However, identifying and recruiting a sample that has maximum variability when the phenomenon of interest is paternal incarceration may be challenging. Significance of Interviewer's Race, Gender, and Age The interviewer must attempt to "participate in the mind of another human being" (Lofland & Lofland, 1995, p. 16). Included in seeking to gain an understanding of another's reality is the challenge of interpreting the meaning of an account from a cultural context which may be foreign to the interviewer. Two of my primary concerns revolved around my access to individuals who are very different 91

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from me and my ability to interview and understand the cultural context of my subjects' life stories. As a middle-aged White female who has not experienced paternal incarceration, I was concerned that young adults, especially minority males, would be unwilling to discuss their life histories with me and that my characteristics might affect not only my sample but my ability to understand and interpret my data. While I cannot tell how many potential participants chose not to be interviewed, I was surprised by the eagerness my subjects displayed to discuss difficult and personal experiences with me and how I was able to engage in a conversation that appeared to be understood by both interviewer and interviewee. The majority of my subjects thanked me after the interview and indicated that this was the first time anyone had displayed interest in hearing about their experiences. Of course, I must acknowledge that these study participants who were so eager to talk are likely different in many ways from those who would not share their experiences so willingly with me. Data Collection I conducted twenty-five in-depth interviews with the children of incarcerated fathers, twenty-four in person and one over the telephone with a respondent who lived in another state. Prior to the start of each interview, I either asked my respondents to read the Consent Form (see Appendix D) or read it to them if I suspected that they might have difficulty reading it. Those who were interviewed in person signed two copies, one for my records and one for them to keep. 92

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Prior to starting the interview, I described the format for the interview and that the information they provided to me while it was being tape recorded, would remain confidential, to the best of my abilities. I explained that while I would be using direct quotations in my research, I would change their names and alter any information by which they might be recognized. I asked each respondent if they had a preferred pseudonym otherwise I would assign a name to them. Several of the names that appear are names my respondents chose for themselves The in-person interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. I took extensive notes and recorded quotations from the one telephone interview The interviews ranged between a minimum of approximately one hour and a maximum of approximately two and one-half hours. The majority of interviews lasted between one and one-half and two hours Locations for the interviews varied. The jail inmates were interviewed in private interview rooms at the jail. Urban Peak allowed me to conduct interviews in private offices at their facility with all of the respondents who heard about my research through Urban Peak. The college students were interviewed either in my office or in a private room at the library. None of the students I interviewed were in any of the classes I was teaching at the time of their interviews. I interviewed the one parolee in an office at his place of work and the one respondent in a treatment facility in a private office at that facility. 93

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Since little is known about the lives of the children of incarcerated fathers, I felt it was important to use in-depth interviews in which subjects were permitted to elaborate on their lives and not focus merely on the incarceration of the father. A narrow focus on the incarceration event itself was likely to mask other important life events. In order to understand the entire life history, I asked my study participants to start at the beginning and describe their lives for me. Life History Calendar Early in my development of interview questions, I used a form of the Life History Calendar (LHC) (see Appendix E) (Caspi, Moffitt, Thornton, Freedman, Amell Harrington Smeijers, & Silva, 1996; Freedman, Thornton Camburn Alwin, & YoungDeMarco 1988; Lin Ensel, & Lai, 1997). The LHC is a data collection device that has been demonstrated to be effective in helping subjects recall streams of life events by helping to provide the appropriate context and time frame (Caspi et al. 1996). It has been demonstrated to increase the validity of retrospective data over a 3to 5-year period but has not been tested for recall over longer periods of time (Freedman et al, 1988). Although the LHC has not been demonstrated to increase the validity of retrospective data over the lifespan of a subject, I pretested the instrument with a few high-risk juveniles and found it useful for organizing their often-chaotic lives. The chronological nature of the format helped to keep respondents from straying too far from the areas of interest and also helped them recall events in a time-ordered 94

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manner. I suspect that had I not used this approach, some interviews would have been much longer since many of the respondents wanted to talk a great deal about their current circumstances. Using the LHC as a reference tool during interviews allowed me to keep participants on track and to organize the events in their lives without appearing to not be interested in their current situations. I showed each respondent the LHC after they signed the informed consent form and explained to them the chronological nature of the interview. One respondent indicated that he was familiar with the LHC since one of his treatment providers had used it to help her understand the sequence of events in his life. During my pretesting of the LHC, I found that depending too heavily on it during an interview did not allow subjects to raise issues outside of the LHC format which could then be pursued with open-ended questions. While filling out the LHC out during an interview was too restrictive, I found it served as a useful prompt for conducting the interviews and helped me identify any areas of interest that were not covered. As I became more familiar with the interview format, which focused on the life histories of the respondents and their families prior to and after the incarceration, I found myself referring to the LHC only at the end of the interview to identify any areas not covered. While I did not use a questionnaire during the interviews I followed a general script at the start of each interview (see Appendix F). Establishing rapport with subjects generally was not a problem. Starting with my initial question, "Who did 95

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you live with when you were a baby?" provided an opening that allowed me to clarify that I was interested in their entire life history, not just the incarceration of their fathers. A few male subjects initially answered questions with brief answers, but after several prompts in which I asked them to describe events or circumstances more fully, they began to provide longer and more detailed answers. Even though I was recording the interviews, I would also periodically reframe the chronology they were providing to verify my understanding and to help me formulate questions. I found that subjects were quick to correct me if I had misunderstood what they said. A larger problem than establishing rapport was keeping some subjects on track, especially those who had mental health diagnoses. In these circumstances, referring back to the LHC allowed me to regain control of the interview. Conceptualization and Operationalization From the literature review and from my personal experience working with children in the Dependency and Neglect Courts and juvenile and adult offenders, I knew that I was likely to hear many life histories that included reports of parental substance abuse and exposure to violence. Conceptualizing and operationalizing terms as vague as "substance abuse" and "violence" is challenging, for what may appear to some respondents as normal substance use and normal family conflict may be viewed by others as abuse. In addition to my respondents' perceptions, I also was forced to confront my own perceptions as to what these terms meant to me. I decided that when asking about issues such as parental substance abuse and violence to not 96

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merely ask if these issues were present in the respondent's life history, but to ask for examples of substance use and conflict. Respondents were easily able to describe specific events, often in graphic detail, that helped me to gain an understanding of what they remembered experiencing. Other concepts I wished to explore, such as family and residential instability, exposure to criminal attitudes and behaviors, progress in school, and association with delinquent peers suffer from similar definitional challenges. I did not want to define residential instability for my study participants but found if I asked with whom they lived when they were infants, I often was provided with a litany of changing households and caregivers without having to ask about their perception of residential stability. Others who did not experience residential instability also readily spoke about the stability of their housing. Obtaining information about study participants' perceptions of progress in school was a similar process: inquiring about how they felt about elementary school frequently elicited lengthy responses about the entire school career without needing to define what I meant by progress in school. Asking simple questions that allowed respondents to describe their experiences often resulted in detailed responses in which the concepts I was exploring were apparent. On a few occasions, I prompted participants for clarification, but, in general, I did not need to ask many detailed and intrusive questions since the descriptions of life experiences were freely offered. 97

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An additional key variable was the caregiver for the child after the father went to prison. Since exposure to deviant caregivers may be a risk factor, I wanted to identify those caregivers who conformed to societal norms. For the purpose of this research, I identified prosocial caregivers as those who did not have substance abuse or mental health problems severe enough that they were unable to care for their children and who did not, to the knowledge of the respondents, engage in criminal activity. Data Transcription I transcribed all of the recorded interviews myself, following Reissman's (2002) recommendation that the researcher should be involved in the transcription of the oral accounts of his or her subjects. While having someone else transcribe the interviews would have saved time, I had concerns that the manner of speech many of my participants used might not be easily understood by a professional transcriber and that the long pauses and laughter or other indicators of emotion, potentially critical elements in understanding the context of what was being said, would be lost if others transcribed my data (Reissman, 2002) This concern was particularly relevant given the instructions of the HSRC that required me to destroy the tape recordings shortly after transcription. The written transcript took on added importance as my only data source since I did not have the luxury of returning to the tape recordings at a much later date. I transcribed each interview shortly after completion while the memory of the interview was still fresh in my mind. This approach helped me to accurately 98

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transcribe sections of the interview that may have been unintelligible to someone not familiar with the conversation and also allowed me to indicate the emotional context of what my subjects were describing. Saturation Point As I conducted my interviews, I came to recognize certain common features that seemed to appear in many accounts. However, I did not reach saturation for my entire sample. If I divided my sample into those respondents who were living conventional lives and those who were not, I appeared to reach saturation with those who were struggling. I could have continued data collection with this subset of my sample, but since the last several interviews I conducted merely confirmed observable patterns, more interviews with individuals already experiencing negative outcomes were not necessary. While there were some intriguing similarities among the few study participants who were doing well, I was not able to find enough potential participants who met this criterion to identify if the similarities were actual patterns. I also would have liked to have interviewed additional female study participants, however, female children of incarcerated fathers are an especially difficult population to identify. They do not appear to follow their fathers to correctional facilities as often as do their male counterparts. Since I was able to interview only five female respondents and five subjects who were living conventional lives during the entire time I collected 99

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data, a period of over two and one-half years I knew that reaching saturation with these subsets was not likely. Data Analysis The transcriptions of the interviews with study participants were my qualitative data. Since I conducted each interview and transcribed the recordings immediately afterward, I was very familiar with each narrative by the time I completed the transcription. Certain trends and patterns were obvious after several of the interviews were completed and transcribed. Content analysis, which "translates frequency of occurrence of certain symbols into summary judgments and comparisons of content of the discourse" (Starosta, 1984, p. 185), is an analytical technique I used to identify major and secondary themes present in my data. I created a database that allowed me to initially code the major trends. By the end of the transcription of each interview, I was able to identify the presence or absence of the identified risk factors. Exposure to each risk factor was coded as a dichotomous variable. Participants whose accounts indicated exposure to specific risk factors were coded as having been exposed while those whose accounts did not indicate exposure were coded as having not been exposed to specific risk factors. Analysis and categorization of data into patterns and trends is an iterative process that occurs throughout the data collection process in addition to occurring at the end of data collection (Miles and Huberman, 1994 ). As I continued to collect and 100

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analyze data, certain expected themes emerged. However, I did not want to commit the error of only finding what I expected, based on a review of the literature and my own personal experience. To avoid such a significant error, I continued to review previous transcriptions while data collection continued, always looking for trends that were not obvious without a thorough understanding and continuous review of the data. This ongoing content analysis allowed me to identify and code several emergent themes that were indicated neither by the literature nor by my experience working with members of this population. Early in the research design, I investigated the use of computer assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS), such as NUD*IST (Non-numerical Unstructured Data Indexing Searching and Theorizing) or Atlas/ti. Although I have not worked with either of these software packages and probably am biased against the use of technology to perform what I view as an inherently human analytical process, I also was aware of the extremely time-consuming nature of qualitative data analysis, especially when faced with analyzing hundreds of pages of interview transcriptions. One of the challenges I faced in analyzing my data was that while my respondents spoke a common language, the way they expressed what were essentially similar experiences often varied significantly. Since I was looking for similarities in concepts and experiences rather than counting the frequency of terms or concepts that were easily identifiable, I decided that the use of CAQDAS was not appropriate for my research. 101

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When planning my research design, I was attracted to Wolcott's (1994) system of three levels of organizing and reporting qualitative data. The first, description, stays as close to the originally reported data as is possible and allows "the data to speak for themselves" (Wolcott 1994, p. 10). The second, analysis, builds on the description and proceeds in a careful and systematic way to identify key factors and relationships among these factors. Finally, interpretation, while not as convincingly scientific as analysis, allows the researcher to reach out for an understanding that goes beyond the limits of what can be explained within the confines of pure analysis. Wolcott (1994) suggests that qualitative researchers keep these three distinctions in mind while transforming data into written accounts. As I conducted ongoing data collection and analysis, I found that Wolcott's (1994) system provided me with a conceptual framework that helped me to understand how I could organize and report my data. Wolcott (1994) states that his division of data analysis into three distinct levels of analysis does not imply that research projects should use all three. Some studies require a descriptive approach while others may require an analytical or even an interpretive approach. However, as I collected and continued to review my data, a reporting technique that allowed me to do all three became increasingly attractive. Description Description, which involves little analysis, provides the means for the researcher to remain close to the data by allowing ''the data to speak for themselves" 102

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(Wolcott 1994, p. 13). At the first level of reporting my data, I wanted to provide others with the opportunity to hear the voices of my study participants. Through the use of extensive quotations, I felt I could better portray my subjects' life experiences, especially their exposure to risk factors. However, Wolcott (1994, p. 13) warns that the researcher singles out what is worthy of note and that "immaculate perception," the pure description implied by this method, does not exist since the data are always filtered through the researcher's own perceptions. Description permits the researcher to incorporate long excerpts from the transcribed data, thus allowing the participants to tell their own stories (Wolcott, 1994). As part of my analysis of my data, I used extensive quotations from my transcripts. Although my transcripts are verbatim, the quotations are not. To enhance readability, I deleted many extraneous words such as "like" and "urn" and changed words like "uh-huh" to "yeah" or "yes." My respondents also frequently repeated phrases, which I deleted if the repetition was not crucial to the meaning of the quotation. At times, some of the respondents would stray from a particular topic only to return to it later. In such cases, I excerpted the irrelevant material and used an ellipsis to indicate that material had been removed. I did not indicate pauses or hand gestures and was unable to convey the often emotional content of my respondents' accounts. What I present is not what my subjects said verbatim but is my attempt to provide the "meanings encoded in the form of the talk" (Reissman, 2002, p. 255). 103

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Chapter 4 provides descriptions of the risk factors identified in the literature to which my study participants were exposed. In my initial analysis as data were being collected, I identified several expected patterns. These categories included the following: exposure to parental/caregiver substance abuse; exposure to violence; exposure to parental/caregiver mental illness; residential instability; exposure to criminal activity; and familial incarceration. Analysis Analysis, according to Wolcott (1994, p. 24), is inherently cautious and conservative and that ... the truly analytical moments will occur during brief bursts of insight or pattern recognition." The purpose of analysis at this stage is to go beyond mere description to identify patterns and relationships between key factors. Once the primary exposure to risk factors, or lack of exposure, was identified for my study participants, I was able to begin to analyze the relationships between risk factors and life trajectories and turning points. Chapter 5 provides an analysis of how turning points in the respondents' lives may be related to increased or decreased exposure to risk factors Interpretation Wolcott (1994, p. 36) argues that interpretation is the point at which the researcher "transcends factual data and cautious analyses and begins to probe into what can be made of them." While it may be tempting to reach far beyond the individual case in a search for its implications, Wolcott (1994) cautions that the 104

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researcher must avoid the temptation to overreach what the analysis warrants. However, the interpretation phase is the foundation for theory development. At this level of analysis, I recognized that other patterns began to emerge from the data that I had not anticipated. While the pile-up of risk factors appeared to be associated with negative outcomes and the exposure to fewer risk factors associated with more positive outcomes, in some cases, outcomes were not easily explained merely by exposure to risk factors. An additional key issue that emerged unexpectedly from the data was the concept of the perception of the father: some participants described their fathers in exclusively positive terms, some in exclusively negative terms, and some articulated both positive and negative perceptions of their fathers. These perceptions of the fathers, the perceptions of the fathers' incarcerations as turning points, the exposure to risk factors, and the current life trajectories are combined in my interpretation of the data in Chapter 6. Research Method Limitations The most obvious limitation to my research is my sample. Being unable to find and interview a larger number of female children of incarcerated fathers and subjects who were living more conventional lives created the greatest challenge in conducting this research. It is also one of its greatest limitations. My failure to identify a method to include potential respondents from the large population of the children of incarcerated fathers who fall in between the two extremes of college 105

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students and those associated with institutions is a significant challenge for this research .. However, there are other serious limitations that must be acknowledged. Complete reliance on the use of unverifiable retrospective data is also a problem for this research. Given that many of the events my study participants recounted are not be able to be confirmed through official records, it is not possible to confirm or disconfirm much of what is in my respondents' accounts. Even though I was more interested in how my study participants perceived events had affected them, obtaining some level of verification would have been helpful. It might have been useful to interview siblings of my respondents to compare their views of the same father and similar experiences. Many of my study participants were not in contact with their siblings or their siblings were in other states. I attempted to arrange interviews with siblings of two of my study participants, but was unable to do so. Additional limitations include problems associated with validity, reliability, and generalizability. These traditional threats to validity of concern to quantitative researchers often are not considered as research limitations for qualitative research. However, Maxwell (2002) identifies several categories of validity and threats to validity which qualitative researchers should consider: descriptive validity, interpretive validity, theoretical validity, and generalizability. Descriptive validity refers to the researcher accurately recording what was observed (Maxwell, 2002). As the sole interviewer and transcriber, a threat to descriptive validity might be minimized. However, I must acknowledge the 106

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possibility that I heard what I wanted to hear by leading study participants in their description of their experiences. This level of threat does not involve analysis or interpretation of the data, however, without descriptive validity, attempting higher levels of analysis may lead the researcher into a realm of fantasy based on inaccurate data. I attempted to minimize such a threat by allowing the study participants to describe their experiences without too tightly controlling the interview. Maxwell's (2002) second type of validity, interpretive validity, refers to the researcher accurately interpreting the participants' comprehension of the phenomenon of interest. This threat to validity is a challenge for my research, primarily because I did not specifically ask my study participants if they viewed their fathers' incarceration as a turning point in their lives, but, rather, I inferred turning points based on their descriptions of what their lives were like prior to, during, and after the incarceration. In addition, the fathers' incarceration was not the only turning point I identified, again, based on inference. I also did not specifically ask my study participants if their fathers were good or bad fathers, but based my conclusion on their statements about their fathers I did not want to ask such a black or white question, but preferred to have their attitudes toward their fathers emerge from their narratives. Since my interpretation of their experiences is at the heart of this research, I cannot eliminate a threat to interpretive validity. Maxwell's (2002, p. 51) third type ofvalidity, theoretical validity, represents ... [going] beyond simply describing these participants' perspectives ... to an 107

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account's function as an explanation, as well as a description or interpretation, of the phenomena." Since I used Wolcott's (1994) analytical framework of description, analysis, and interpretation, the current study is subject to a threat to theoretical validity if my analysis and interpretation of the phenomena of interest is inaccurate. If that is the case, any theory developed from this research would likely not be supported in subsequent studies. Generalizability is Maxwell's (2002) fourth type of validity. He states that there are two types of generalizability in qualitative research: generalizing within the community, group, or institution studied to others not directly observed and generalizing to other communities, groups, or institutions. While qualitative studies may be generalized to some extent, Maxwell (2002) warns the researcher that an interview is a brief social setting and that conclusions based on interviews may be valid in terms of presenting an accurate account of the person's actions and perspectives within that setting, but that those actions and perspectives may not exist outside of the interview setting. However, if consistent patterns emerge from multiple interviews, while not generalizable in the same respect as quantitative research, findings may provide insight into other similarly-situated individuals. Maxwell's (2002) threats to validity were useful for conceptualizing challenges in the current study. However, unlike threats to validity in experimental designs, I could not eliminate these threats through a research design but attempted to address them throughout the entire research process. 108

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CHAPTER4 DESCRIPTION: GROWING UP AT RISK Many of the subjects of the current study described childhood exposure to trauma and multiple risk factors In many cases, the father, through his attitudes and behaviors, was the source of or significantly contributed to the challenges the subjects faced. Some fathers, sporadically involved in their children's lives, were frequently absent as the result of their addictions, chaotic and often criminal lifestyles, and involvement with the criminaljustice system. Exposure to Alcohol and Drug Abuse The most common theme that emerged in the narratives was that of severe substance abuse by fathers that included addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Twenty three of the twenty-five respondents identified severe paternal substance abuse or addiction to alcohol or at least one drug. Polysubstance abuse was a common theme in the accounts of study participants. While several described alcohol, cocaine, crack cocaine, or heroin as the primary addictions, sixteen of the respondents identified their fathers as polysubstance abusers. Seven subjects reported severe substance abuse of either alcohol or only one drug. However, two of the single-drug users were heroin addicts and two were addicted to crack cocaine. 109

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Table 4.1 Reported severe parental substance abuse (see Appendix B.2) Male Female Total Respondents Respondents n=25 n=20 n=5 Exposure to paternal 18 5 23 substance abuse Father/father figure 14 2 16 alcohol abuse Father/father figure 16 5 21 drug abuse Father/father figure 12 4 16 polysubstance abuse Exposure to maternal 14 3 17 substance abuse Mother/mother figure 8 4 12 alcohol abuse Mother/mother figure 13 3 16 drug abuse Mother/mother figure 9 3 12 polysubstance abuse In utero exposure to drugs or 3 0 3 alcohol and type Both father and mother 14 4 18 substance abusers A few participants described their parents' efforts to hide their drug or alcohol addictions from their children, but a more common theme was that of direct exposure to the parents' substance-abusing behaviors: And I was like, "Mom, where's Dad, where's Daddy at?" And she's like, "Downstairs." And as soon as she said downstairs, I knew exactly what he was doing. She didn't have to tell me. Because, you know, the school didn't have to tell me, because I learned through the streets. Watching things ... [people] doing drugs, I knew he was shooting up. (Victory, age 18) I've watched my [step]dad walk around with needles hanging out of his arm, blood all over the place from coke. And I've seen him and 110

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my mom be up for days and you can't understand a word they're talking about. It's just gibberish. And me and my brothers and sister are getting kicked out at 3 o'clock in the morning and we have to sit outside so that they can get high. And we've got school the next morning. And it's the dead of winter. So we're sitting in the car, trying to stay warm, and they're paranoid that we're calling the cops. (Joe, age 21) Parental drug or alcohol abuse can have financial consequences that severely affect the children. One female participant, who lived alone with her father before his incarceration, described life with her father: He got SSI, something with his heart ... Every month he'll get his checks and then he'll spend it on drugs. And then me and him wouldn't have any food to eat ... He would take me over to my grandma's house and ask for food and everything ... it made me embarrassed to have to ask for food. (Nicole, age 18) Drug or alcohol addictions prevented some fathers from maintaining stable employment: His alcohol addiction had gotten so severe that basically what was happening was that he would be off [work] from drinking, he'd be off maybe 2, 3 4 weeks. And then he couldn't go back to work because now he'd be drunk everyday. And they would require, before they would release him [to return to work], would be for him to check into a V.A. hospital. (J.D., age. 45) I used to do Scouts and he was along for some of the trips. And then once he really started getting into the drinking, he took both me and my brother out of Scouts ... don't think I saw a day without him getting drunk early in the morning and staying drunk all day ... He'd do odd jobs. He was't holding a job-he couldn't hold a job for very long. (Kenneth, age 19) My dad was hiding the drug and alcohol use pretty well up until I was about 8 or so. But then he started really using all these different drugs and alcohol. He was drinking a lot and shooting heroin and smoking 111

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and snorting meth. And it started to catch up to him. He started missing a lot of work and his behaviors and attitude really changed dramatically. And then he and my mom started engaging in more conflicts, whether it was about us or about his health. And he was always trying to tell her that she should mind her own business. And she was just trying to be a good mother and a good wife ... They ended up getting a divorce when I was about 9 [because of his substance abuse]. (Aaron, age 22) Drug addiction may also prevent fathers from being able to stay out of prison once they are released: To this day, he's awaiting trial to find out if he's going back to prison, even as we speak. Violation of parole. He's always had problems with cocaine and marijuana and alcohol. I just spoke to him three days ago and he was telling me that he told his parole officer that he can't live life without marijuana. He can't do his daily functions without it. He's had it since he started running the streets, he had it in jail, he had it in prison, and since it's even easier to get it out on the streets, he told his parole officer that it's going to be a problem for him taking drug tests because he has to smoke marijuana. And I try to ask him why, what is the reason behind that. Because there are people who live everyday of their lives without it. Why does he have to get high? But he just says that he can't function without it. The first time he got out of prison, I saw him two hours after he got out. I remember this because it was three days after my birthday. I told my mom "I want to see my dad." I hadn't seen him in five or six years. And she said okay. He was at his mom's house. And he surprised me with a bike. I already had one, but he didn't know that because he'd been away in prison. So I took it as a gift, and I thanked him for it, and two days later, he was back in jail. Parole violation for marijuana. And he's just continued to violate. I think the longest he has been out was 7 or 8 weeks [since he was first let out of prison]. (Derek, age 21) Druggie daddies-they always make a lot of promises. He made so many promises, I could make a book out of them. Broken promises, but I still believed him, but still I forgave him, I still took him back. It's what you have to do. Promises that he would stay out of jail. But he couldn't stay away from drugs. He always went back. And he'd call and say "I'm in jail." And I'd hand my mom the phone, I didn't 112

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want to talk to him. And I'd think, "Here we go, again." (Victory, age 18) A father's addiction can create multiple hardships for his family. One participant explained the additional destructive outcome ofhis father's addiction to heroin: My dad would just pop up. He'd mess up on parole and go back. And then he'd get out. I mean, he was still using ... And he got my mom to start using. So my mom was pretty bad on it, too. (David, age 20) In addition to paternal substance abuse, eighteen of the twenty-five study participants described the devastating effects of maternal or other caregiver drug or alcohol abuse. Twelve identified their mothers as polysubstance abusers: [My mom] was a coke addict for a long time ... she was dating a drug dealer and she was getting it for free ... And, I mean, she's not an alcoholic really, but when she drinks, she drinks to the point that she blacks out. (Vinnie, age 18). My mom smoked a lot of crack. My dad would use every now and then. But he was mainly into distribution. There were times when he really tried, but it was really hard because of my mom ... Sometimes she would do good and try to lead a family life, I guess, but it never worked out. .. She would get clean for a little while, but then she'd relapse ... My dad was always trying to help her get clean, but she'd always relapse. (Elias, age 26) She didn't start drinking until about the same time that I noticed a lot of these conflicts [over my father's substance abuse] starting to happen. But after that she started drinking, in her words, ''to help deal with the pain and ease the situation." After they got the divorce, they both kind of took the same road. My mom, she got heavy into all kinds of drugs and alcohol, and that lead to her death when I was 11. (Aaron, age 22) 113

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In some cases, the mother's addiction was evident to the subject prior to the father's arrest and incarceration, but for others, the mother's substance abuse problems became more pronounced after the father was no longer present. I remember she was going to the methadone clinic [prior to my father's arrest]. So she was trying to get off of it. And then, when we first came out to Colorado [after my father went to prison], I really knew that she was using it. I mean, she never did it in front of me. Nothing like that, the whole time. But I remember one time, I found her passed out on the toilet, a needle in her arm, when I was, like, 12, and we were staying in a motel. (David, age 20) She always hid it from us. That was the main thing. She didn't want us to know. And she still hides it from us today. I mean, she never wanted us to see her drinking or to see her be in that state. She would just start going to bed earlier and be by herself more. She'd hide the bottles in the back of the freezer and she'd pack them with peas and everything .. .I could tell at that point that her health was starting to go down. Because my father was gone, I really had to step into the role of being there for my mom. Because the alcoholism was really taking a toll on her. (Allison, age 18) While a mother's addiction can have profound effects on her children as they are growing up, three subjects knew that they had been exposed to drugs during their mother's pregnancies and were born to drug-addicted mothers: I was born high ... [My mom] did all the hard drugs. So I had almost every drug in me [when I was born] ... I got the ADHD from all the drugs she was on. (Kenneth, age 19) I went into foster care when I was born. My mom went into the hospital under another woman's name since she had warrant out for her arrest. She had me and then she just abandoned me at the hospital. I was born addicted to heroin ... .I know I went through withdrawal, had the shakes and all of that. (Jeron, age 28) 114

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When I was a baby, my family abandoned me. My mom was hooked on crack, heroin, all kinds of drugs. I was born a crack -cocaine baby. (Robert, age 20) In addition to paternal and maternal substance abuse, several participants described their exposure to drug or alcohol abuse by other family members: [My grandfather] was a drunk. He'd take me to a bar with all his friends. I remember one time sitting at the bar with him. I was eating Skittles and he was getting drunk ... He got in a fight and got stabbed in the lung. I'll never forget that. The neighborhood was so bad the cops didn't even want to come-we had to go to them. So my grandfather's stabbed and he walks out of the bar. He's walking up and down the street and he's got a gun. He's drunk with a frigging gun in his hand, you know, pointing it. And he pointed the gun at me. He really scared me. But I still love him. I mean, that's the thing, I still love him, I love him to death. (Victory, age 18) [My older brother], when he was 13 he started getting into drugs and gangs and stuff like that. And that's when he changed, like really big time. And he turned into a methhead. A crackhead, a methhead. I seen what it did to my older brother, so I didn't want it to happen to me. Every time my brother would go do it, he would tell me not to come into his room You know, he would beat the shit out of me if he ever catched me doing tweak or crack or anything like that. But he would always get me high on marijuana or get me drunk, but other than that, he would beat the shit out of me [for using hard drugs]. (Vinnie, age 18) [My father] was selling mainly cocaine and heroin. But he did a lot of cocaine. A lot of cocaine and marijuana. And he drank a lot. .. We lived with my grandma [Dad's mother], she smoked a lot of marijuana. And she would drink a lot, too. (Dewan, age 21) My mom and my stepdad smoked a lot of marijuana. And they'd both get drunk every night too They drank at least a twelve-pack every night. (John, age 18) 115

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Growing up in an environment where excessive drug or alcohol use was the norm was also a common feature. For many of the study participants, drug and alcohol abuse and addiction did not seem unusual to them when they were children. One participant described his first experience with alcohol and his family's reaction to his intoxication: One thing that always stuck in my mind was that drugs and alcohol had always been acceptable usage in my family. Everybody got together and we did drugs and alcohol and anything we could get our hands on-it didn't matter what it was. And it was everybody, the whole block. It wasn t just me and my family, it was my neighbors, and my neighbors' neighbors ... One day we went to a barbeque. I couldn't have been more than 9 at the time. I remember getting so intoxicated I blacked out. And everybody thought it was so funny. The last thing I remember was everybody being in the living room, everybody drinking and having a good time. The next morning they were telling me about all these crazy things I did and I have no memory of it at all. And that was the first time I remember drinking. And after that, it was a situation where it was just ongoing. (J.D., age 45) Another participant credited his own father with introducing him to drug use at a very early age: And he's like "Ian, Ian, come out here" and I'd like come out and ask him for a sip off his alcohol or a drag of his cigarette. I'm like four and I'm doing this and I thought it was okay. And he even let me hit the weed pipe. I was smoking weed when I was four years old .. And my mom wouldn't say a damn thing ... Him and his friends would all be sitting there and I'd be getting drunk or high with them. They'd be giving me sips off their peppermint schnapps, or their tequila, or whatever they were drinking. And my dad would let me take a hit off his pipe or he'd sit there with a toilet paper roll and he'd give me shotguns and I'd get fucked up. (Ian, age 18) 116

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Even indirect exposure to substance abuse can take its toll on children. One subject, who lived in a stable home with his grandmother and who was not directly exposed to his parents' heroin additions, described the effects of growing up as the child of drug addicts: My father was in and out of my life a lot. He would come around, but I never knew when he was going to show up. He would go on these drug binges and just be gone or he'd be arrested and in jail. Sometimes my mom and dad would come around and try to give me things. That was how they tried to act like parents. They'd bring me stolen merchandise for presents the boxes were all opened up. I just didn't want any ofthat stuff from them. I can't begin to describe what it was like, how it affected me, to have parents like mine. If they loved me, how could they have abandoned me? (Jeron, age 28) Participants in the current study identified exposure to drug and alcohol abuse as having a significant effect on their young lives. The importance of exposure to parental drug or alcohol abuse for the children of incarcerated fathers cannot be overstated. As the children of incarcerated fathers, the study participants generally were exposed to many other risk factors and few of the protective factors that might have helped them overcome the negative impact of parental substance abuse. Exposure to Violence Exposure to violence, both within and outside of the family, was a frequent theme in participants' narratives. Eleven of the twenty-five respondents reported witnessing the abuse of their mothers, seventeen reported being the victim of physical abuse, sexual abuse, or severe child neglect, ten reported both mother and child victimization, seven reported community or gang violence, and six reported exposure 117

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to both family and community violence. Six study participants reported no significant exposure to either family or community violence. Table 4.2 Reported exposure to severe violence and abuse (see Appendix B.3) Male Female Total Respondents Respondents n=25 n=20 n=5 Mother/caregiver battering by 8 3 11 father/father figure Physical child abuse by 8 4 12 father/father figure Physical child abuse by 2 2 4 mother/mother figure Sexual abuse by father/father 2 1 3 figure Severe neglect 5 3 8 Total victims of 13 4 17 child abuse Exposure to both mother/mother 7 3 10 figure battering and child abuse Total exposure to family 14 4 18 violence Exposure to community violence 6 1 7 Exposure to family and 5 1 6 community violence Exposure to little 5 1 6 or no violence Family Violence Eighteen of the twenty-five respondents reported high levels of family conflict in the form of mother battering and/or child abuse. Several participants also described the abuse of their mothers by stepfathers or other men in their mothers' lives after their fathers went to prison. Substance abuse and domestic violence were 118

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frequently cited together. The violence was often focused on both the mother and the children: Well, he's beating on her and beating on her and I'm like "stop it." I'm screaming at him and then I jump in front of him and I hit him and he hit me. I pushed him off and I cussed him, you know, and he's trying to beat me down and my grandma's holding him back. And he's like "You have to respect me." And I'm like "You beat on my mom, disrespecting our house. You're beating my mom in front of me and my little sister and my grandmother. You don't beat somebody in their own house in front of their family." And I remember escaping with my mom and going to a friend's house ... He was violent when the drugs took him over. (Victory, age 19) [My dad] hit my mom He hit us when we were kids, when he was drunk. My mom told me about him trying to kill me when I was really young. He threw me down a flight of stairs. Twice. Before that, he tried killing me with my mom [when she was pregnant]. He took a baseball bat after her and hit her in the stomach with it. (Joe, age 21) [I was living with my dad and] he was into crack. He didn't do it in front of me, but it was around the house a lot .... I'll never forget this day, when my mom came around [his house] with my little brother. He pulled a shotgun on them. I was about 5 at the time, so my little brother was around 4. (Nikky, age 19) Every time he'd get drunk, he would beat my mom. And we all saw it. And sometimes when he was drunk, he'd beat us too. But only when he was drinking. He was violent when he'd get drunk ... He was drunk when he shot the guy [the crime of incarceration]. (Keith, age 42) Some mothers tried unsuccessfully to leave their violent husbands: He used to beat the crap out of my mom, to the point that she'd have broken ribs, broken anns, and black eyes, you know, need stitches and stuff like that. And, he was always getting in trouble with the law ... He was just a crazy, crazy guy ... [My mom told me] he got pissed at her so he raped her. And that I was the product of the rape. And my mom couldn't take it any more, so after he raped her, she left the first time. But she didn't know she was pregnant with me. Soon 119

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as she found out she was pregnant, she went back [to him]. (Vinnie, age 18) My dad was very physically and verbally abusive to my mom. I remember one time he threatened to kill her with a piece of broken glass .... She took us to safe houses a bunch of times, but we always went back. (Craig, age 23) Other participants described witnessing violence directed at not only their mother, but at other women as well. I've seen him several times hit women. And hurt women. He's been violent towards females, all his life. (Kenneth, age 19) I remember when I was a little kid, he had my mom down on the floor and was hitting her in the head with a hammer. He really fucked her up ... 1 remember him really going off on her, but he was that way with all his women. (Brian, age 19) Seven of the respondents who reported witnessing the battering of their mothers or mother figures also reported being direct victims of physical child abuse at the hands of their fathers or father figures. If our stepmom had told him we had done something wrong again he'd sneak into out bedroom and wake us up. Or if we were sitting up, he'd sneak into the room and grab us, pull us out into the living room and he would make us do wall-sits, for hours on end. Or physically hurt us. Me and my brother. And only once did I stand up to him and I felt proud, even though I got my two front teeth knocked out, I stood up to him, and I shouldn't have done it, but I did, I swung back on him. I stood up to him and said "I'm not putting up with you hitting me any more." (Kenneth, age 19) My father would discipline me. He would spank me and I would be black and blue all up and down my butt and the back of legs. (Brian, age 19) 120

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Alcohol came into the picture heavily but that didn't create any baggage for anyone else other than me. Because I was the target of his anger. When I went into kindergarten, we were supposed to draw pictures of our families I came home with demons on a piece a paper. My mom still has it. (B.J., age 22) Four ofthe respondents reported physical child abuse by their mothers or other female caregivers. These respondents also reported physical child abuse by their fathers or father figures. My dad used to beat his girlfriends and stuff like that. And for some reason, they'd take it out on me cause I look just like my dad .. .I never really explain it cause it really is a sad story to tell [describing a scar by her eye]. One day, we were going through that same routine, and she was whuppin' she had this big police belt-and she was whuppin' me and the belt buckle swung and hit me in my face. And it's been there ever since. And I was only four years old. And she told me to lie and say "Oh, you was running from a dog and you fell off a car." And that was my first story that I ever made up. And I'd used to go around and go, "Oh, yeah, I fell off a car. I was running from a dog." Another time I got my arm broken. She kind of was stepping on my arm and it was twisted and I went around not moving my arm. And then my older sister was like, "What's wrong with you?" And I said "My arm is hurting and I can't move it." So she's like "Well, maybe you need to tell somebody. You need to go to the doctor." And I'm like "No, I'll get in trouble ifl tell." And then I kind of thought I could say I hurt my arm playing Chinese jumprope. And I went home from school and told them that. We went to the emergency room and I had to get a cast on my arm. But I never told anybody that story of how I broke my arm. (Nikky, age 19) Being beaten by my father hurts but he has a limit. My mother doesn't have a limit. They both are hot-tempered people. My father can control his temper sometimes, but when he's on that stuff [drugs], he's a different person. My mother, on the other hand, has mental problems ... My godmother and my grandmom saved my life several times because my mom was choking me. My mom has done some things that was out of control, that parents would not dream of doing to their kids. I've been through it. And one time when I was twelve, she 121

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whipped me on my entire body, on my face, too. The counselors saw that, the teachers saw that, and they all said "How' d you get that?" And I said "I fell down the stairs." (Victory, age 18) I used to get whuppins all the time, because I had a bedwetting problem. I would wet the bed until I was like, twelve. [My stepmother] tried pushing the sheets all up in my face, like you do a dog. And I'd get a whuppin every day for doing that. (Nicole, age 18) One respondent, who was adopted because his drug-addicted mother could not care for him, was exposed to violence by his adoptive father. The stages I went through when I was a kid, you know, dressing the way I did and the music I wanted to listen to and talking like I do, my adoptive father didn't like it. I didn't like the rules that were put down on me and at night I would leave to go hang out with my friends and party. Social Services got involved because me and my adoptive father used to fight a lot. When I was eight or nine, him and me got into a fight and he hit me with a picture frame I got jabbed in the eye with it. When I went to school the next day, my teachers wanted to know what happened. I told them and they put me in a group home. (Robert, age 20) Even when there was little or no severe physical violence in the home, respondents who were not exposed to family violence frequently described high levels of family conflict. I remember the way my father used to abuse me. Like pull me back by the collar and kick me in the rear. And then when I was older I remember, like 8, 9, I remember he used to call me names. So he went from physical abuse to emotional abuse. And then, after so many times in prison, he took parenting classes ... and he never disrespected me again. It just kind of ended like that. He was just like that, when he was done, he was done. Except for committing crimes. (Nina, age 24) Violence was never present [after my dad got out of prison]. If anything, the emotional scars were too deep. It's as if physical violence just would have been too superficial for our situation. I 122

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mean, my mom would never bring it to that. Because to her, that would be losing control and that would just be over the line. Things were dealt with much more internally. So I think things were held onto and dealt with at a much deeper emotional level so that they were never brought up to the physical level. But the emotional scars left on my brother and me were deep. (Allison, age 18) Community Violence Six of the respondents reported exposure to high levels of community violence, usually associated with gang violence. Those who were exposed to high levels of community violence also generally were witnesses to abuse of the mother or were direct victims of child.abuse. We moved here because my godmother almost got shot. And because one day, I said "Grandma, there's a man sitting on the step." She said "Who's that?" She didn't know. Opened the door, tapped him on the shoulder, and the guy fell over dead. Because he got shot in the stomach. (Victory, age 19) Another respondent, whose family is deeply involved in gangs, described being threatened as a young teenager by an older member of his gang: And he told my brother "Go get the gun." And my brother went and got the gun. It was a 9mm. And he said "open up your mouth." And he put it to my chest first. And he said "open up your mouth." I said no. And he said "Open up your fucking mouth." And I said "No, what are you going to do?" And my sister was in the back crying "Don't do it, don't do it." And, he put it in my mouth and then he started laughing and he goes "I knew you were a little punk." I was like "What do you mean?'' And he goes "I wanted to see if you had any balls." And he just kept on laughing, kept on laughing. I know he would have shot me. (Vinnie, age 18) Several respondents lived in neighborhoods where gangs were endemic and gang membership was the norm: 123

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Me and my friends would always be wearing red and black. And then somebody'd be coming down the street talking stuff. And me and my homies would just tell them to shut up or whatever. And they'd just start fighting and I'd sit there and watch and start laughing. And if my homeboys started getting beat up, I'd jump in .... But I wasn't out there carrying guns and all that good stuff like the rest of them. (John, age 18) Another respondent, whose father was extremely violent and who taught his son how to fight, described growing up in a community where aggressive responses were the norm: I grew up fighting. I know how to fight. I can kick the ass of guys a lot bigger than me. I've never lost a fight. Sometime I wish I had. I think maybe I wouldn't be so willing to fight all the time ifl had. I'm not a very big guy, but neither is my dad. But he's really strong. Wiry and strong. And he's kicked the shit out of guys a lot bigger than him. (Brian, age 19) One respondent described an incident in which his father's violence was directed at someone who posed a threat to his child: There was this dude at our house. He smacked me with a belt one day cause I was being pretty improper. I was walking around and I had this belt and I was hitting my sister with this belt. I didn't know, don't hit a girl, nobody ever told me. I was just a little kid. And I was pelting her with this belt pretty good, fucking her up with it, so he came up and grabbed the belt and he hit me with it, and my dad took a baseball bat to him and fucked him up right there in the living room. (Ian, age 18) Eighteen of the respondents were exposed to violence in the form of mother battering, direct physical child abuse, or community violence and six were exposed to all. Only six study participants reported little or no exposure to violence when they were children. 124

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Exposure to Parental or Caregiver Mental Illness Eight of the respondents reported that either the mother or father was diagnosed with a serious and persistent mental illness. None reported that both parents were mentally ill. Of the respondents who reported parental mental illness, four were the children of mentally ill fathers, while the other four described mentally ill mothers. Bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia were reported. The erratic behaviors associated with these mental illnesses created additional challenges, including assuming a parental role, for some of the children of these parents. Table 4.3 Reported exposure to diagnosed parental mental illness (see Appendix B.4) Male Respondents Female Respondents Total n=20 n=5 n=25 Father/father 4 0 4 figure mentally ill Major depression -2 and diagnosis Bipolar disorder-1 Schizophrenia -1 Mother/mother 2 2 4 figure mentally ill Major depression-1 Major depression-1 and diagnosis Bipolar disorder-1 Bipolar disorder-1 One respondent, whose father was diagnosed with a major depressive disorder and who was a violent methamphetamine addict, described his father's behavior during depressive episodes: He would lock us out of the house. My mom and my brother and me would be out and we'd come home and every light in the house would be off and all the doors would be locked. It would be really spooky to 125

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go in the house because we knew he was really depressed but we didn't know what to expect. (Craig, age 23) Bipolar disorder and alcoholism combined to make the behavior of one respondent's father difficult to predict: He would just be in a rage. One time he was in a rage I just went up and hugged him and said "I love you." And he just did this [indicating total release]. And so then I just kept doing it. When he really would get in a rage, I would just hug him and tell him I loved him. But then when he got drunk, he would not pop out of the rage. When he got drunk, his eyes would just glaze over and he'd be in a rage until he ran out of fuel (Kenneth, age 19) Another respondent described his mentally ill father's violent and unpredictable behavior that drove his mother away with her children: He used to talk to the TV and it wouldn't be on. And he'd stay up all hours of the night, looking out each window. And he'd just talk to somebody who wasn'tthere. He would blow, like blow over his shoulder, just keep on blowing for some reason ... He was always mad, always beating up his mom, his dad, my uncle, my mom. Everybody around him, he was beating up ... [After my mom left him] he shot himself in the head and it killed half of his brain. He lives with his mom now and his brain just doesn't click past when my mom left him. He thinks that all the kids and her are at the store. So he waits by the window, he waits by the phone. Always asking "Where's my wife, where's my kids?" And they always tell him, "Oh, she's at the store, she'll be back pretty soon." (Vinnie, age 18) One respondent lived with her father prior to his incarceration. After he was sent to prison, she returned to live with her mother, who suffers from a sleep disorder, depression, and epilepsy. As a result of her mother's mental and physical health problems, she has assumed a parental role for her younger siblings: 126

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And my mom was having a situation where she was kind of moving around, going from shelter to shelter, and stuff like that. So after my dad went to prison, I decided to move back here to live with my mom cause I knew that she has seizures and she has six other kids to worry about. So I came here to stay with her to help take care of her and the other kids .. .I remember on my birthday when I turned 17, we had to move out of where we was staying and we went to a homeless shelter. (Nikky, age 19) Another respondent described having to help take care of her younger sister and her mother, who suffered from bipolar disorder: One time I was like "Oh my God, what the hell is she doing?" She was cutting herself in front of my little sister. And I said "What the hell are you doing?" Now what am I supposed to say when my little sister comes up to me and says "Remember that time Momma was bleeding all over? What was she doing?" What am I going to say to her? "Oh, your momma was mutilating herself because she was going through a depression. Don't worry about it." I can't say that to her. And I couldn't really leave because the medication would tum her into a zombie One time I came home late at night and my little sister comes running down the street to meet me She was just a baby and I could have lost her because my mother was not able to take care of her. (Victory, age 18) Although substance-related disorders are classified as Axis I clinical disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2000) and many of the parents of respondents likely met the criteria for such a diagnosis, none of the respondents identified a parental diagnosis of a substance-related disorder It is likely that many of the fathers also would have met the diagnostic criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) or other personality disorders but were not identified by their children as such In addition since the mental health challenges of minorities and individuals 127

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living in poverty often are not accurately diagnosed, it is likely that some of the respondents were living with parents who had undiagnosed mental health problems. Exposure to Criminal Activity and Familial Incarceration Fourteen of the twenty-five respondents described exposure to criminal activity during their childhoods, generally in the fonns of witnessing drug distribution, theft, and assaults. Fifteen subjects reported that their fathers had multiple stays in jails or prisons and eight reported the incarceration of multiple family members. Five stated that their mothers had also spent time in jail or prison, but the tenns of incarceration for the mothers was short. Table 4.4 Reported exposure to familial criminal activity and incarceration (see Appendix B.5) Male Female Total Respondents Respondents n=25 n=20 n=5 Criminal activity by father 10 4 Father multiple incarcerations 11 4 Mother incarcerated 4 1 Other family members incarcerated 4 1 Total with history of family 7 1 incarceration other than father The father was generally the initial source for the reported exposure to criminal activity: I saw drugs around the house a lot. One time I found a gun in the house. So it was pretty major, he was really doing major things He had people coming in and out of the house all the time. Mostly people that we knew, but didn't really know. I would see them around the neighborhood. It was like, "Yeah, we know what he does. We know his standards and stuff:" So we'll stay away from that person. But 128 14 15 5 5 8

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then you see them coming up into your house and doing all kinds of different things ... So one day, I was in the house and I watched my dad sell it to [one of these people]. And I'm like, "Okay, I know what Dad's doing." (Nikky, age 19) I remember seeing a lot of drugs when I was a kid, running through the house. A lot of marijuana. I remember one day he used me as like a measure. He had a brick in the house and I was like four or five and the brick stood as tall as me, and he had me stand next to it. I remember the smell was really strong. (Ian, age 18) They used to call him ''DVD Dave." Because he would go into WalMart and take foil and wrap DVDs in foil to get through the security. Like all the new releases. Then he'd go the bar and sell them for like $10. And he'd get 10 in each WalMart. And it was like $100 for every WalMart store. And he'd go to 3 WalMarts a day. (David, age 20) My dad and his neighbor, they were petty criminals. I mean, they would go steal stuff, they would go steal copper. They would go down to the railroad and cut down the copper wire, roll it up, and take it to the junkyard and get money for it. And they would take the older boys with them, like about 2 or 3 of the older boys. (JD, age 45) He wasn't working. He would hustle. He sold drugs, marijuana, he sold stolen goods. He never stole them, he got them from other people who would sell them to him for a good price. My mom was the one working ... but he was [contributing financially]. He was the main reason we were making it. And we were spoiled even. Cause it was fast money, a fast life. At the time I thought I was living everything the greatest. I mean, I got everything I asked for. He gave me everything I wanted. (Nina, age 24) At the time I was a kid, I was really aware of all the things that were going on around me. I tried to pretend like I didn't know anything, but it happened in my face, 24/7. I'm sitting in the kitchen watching my dad-it's like we didn't watch movies or anything like that-I just watched people cooking cocaine into rocks. I sat there watching them cooking it into rock form, crack. I knew exactly what was going on around me. People he was selling to were always coming to the house. 129

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I was probably a little bit too aware of what was going on for my own good. (Dewan, age 21) Eleven of the twenty-five respondents described criminal activity by other family members: fathers: My mom's brother, he's a Sureiio. He was in and out of prison since I was real young. And I remember when we had our apartment ... it was my grandma, my grandpa, my uncle, me, my older brother, my older sister, and my little brother. All of us. And it was a two-bedroom apartment, and we all lived there. There was at least 3 or 4 drive-bys at our house, because of my uncle. He's told me about all the murders he's did, all the people he's killed ... I remember one day he runs up into the apartment, hides in the closet, and all we hear is gunshots at our house. And my uncle pulls out his gun, trying to shoot back, and shoots up above through the floor, shooting through the walls, and stuff like that. With all of us in the house. And, then these guys come in. Supposedly one of them was a drug dealer my uncle ripped him off and he wanted to get him. My grandpa stepped in and took the assbeating for my uncle because he didn't like what was going on because there was kids around. So he said "Get out of my house." And these guys beat him up in front of us. And my uncle stood in the closet, hiding from these guys while my grandpa was getting beat up by these drug dealers. (Vinnie, age 18) My stepdad had his pot plants all over the place downstairs. And if I went downstairs, I'd get beat every time he caught me. I'd have to sneak downstairs to do laundry. (Joe, age 21) My big sister, she was the first of us kids to go to prison. She went to prison when she was 18. Somebody stole her child support checks out of her mailbox and she found out who did it and went and shot at them. And she got locked up for about 4 years for that. She got out, but nobody knows where she is now. (Dewan, age 21) A few respondents described their initiation into criminal activity by their 130

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I was always afraid to steal, but I always wanted to go with my dad and my older brothers. I would hang out with other kids and they would go "Let's go in and rip off this store" but I was always afraid of getting caught. I'd just freeze up, I was really afraid to steal anything. But I remember one time when my father and this neighbor who was a really good friend of his took me with them. Now, I was really happy, 'cause I knew they were going to show me how to do it. We went to a grocery store and it was like, "Okay, this is what you gotta do, you have to go in there and get 3 baskets full of meat. And if you get caught, you best not say anything." And they didn't come in, they stayed outside and waited for me. (JD, age 45) [After my dad got out of prison], I was living with him and my mom. I'd dropped out of high school, already. I was like 16 and I started working for him. I bought myself cars, totaled cars, and by 17, I started stealing cars. You know, I knew he did it, and I know he still does it. It was easier to make money that way ... I just saw the way he deals, you know. I saw him lying, cheating, and stealing every day. So I saw him doing all this, and I'm thinking to myself, "Hey, I can do that, too." I had my own tow truck and at night I'd just go out and steal cars, you know, one or two cars, and sell them in the morning. We had a group of buyers who came up from Mexico and they'd buy all the cars. (Jack, age 26) Fifteen ofthe twenty-five study participants reported histories of paternal jail incarceration prior to prison. Several were in and out of their children's lives because of their frequent interaction with the criminal justice system: It started off with him being in and out of jail. He was getting busted for selling drugs, for check fraud, for stufflike that. (Nikky, age 19) He was violent with all of us. He used to beat up my mom and my brothers and me. They'd take him off to jail but he'd be back. He's in jail again right now. (Joe, age 21) My dad was in jail every now and then. He was getting picked up for stupid shit like driving without a license, all kinds of traffic charges, stuff like that. He was working construction and dealing on the side. 131

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But he wasn't getting into serious trouble until he was busted and went to prison. (Elias, age 26) He was injail a bunch of times before he went to prison. He'd get picked up with drugs on him, but they were all minor charges, so he didn't really spend long periods oftime in jail. (Dewan, age 21) My dad was doing all kinds of illegal stuff, but he wasn't really getting caught for them. What he was going to jail for was little things like driving drunk, stealing, you know, the petty stuff. But after he went to prison, the time he lived with us was very limited. He'd get out for a year, and he'd go back. Then he'd be back home for 6 months, and then he'd be gone again. Back forth, in and out for 18 years. And it was really crazy. (Nina, age 24) He was in and out of jail, prison. He's been to prison several times. I can't count on my fingers how many times he's locked up for drugs, and different things. But mainly I know its drugs heroin, cocaine, weed. Anything, he's done it. (Victory, age 18) He started having run-ins with the law. His drinking became worse than anything. He wasn't using the drugs as much at that time, he was still using them some. He started having small run-ins with the law, like disturbing the peace calls, disorderly conduct, a couple of DUis. But once his alcoholism started to get worse and worse, he started to get more and more violent charges. Domestic disturbances. And then one night he got into a fight in a bar. I guess some words were exchanged then they started pushing and shoving, and then they started exchanging punches, and I guess he had some sort of retractable baton, and he beat the guy almost nearly to death. He was charged with attempted murder. (Aaron, age 22) Eight of the twenty-five respondents described patterns of family incarceration that included grandparents, stepfathers, aunts and uncles, siblings, or mothers: My grandpas on both my dad's and mom's side of the family were in prison. One of my grandpas was a biker. He didn't get along with the police too well ... My stepdad, too. He was just a habitual offenderdrugs, alcohol, abuse, violence-stuff like that. (Joe, age 21) 132

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If I end up in prison, it's no big deal. I've got family there. My dad is there People know him. They respect him. And my cousin is there. He was just sentenced for murder. They'll watch my back. I won't have to deal with all that shit that other [new] guys have to. (Brian, age19) My mom's been in jail a few times, too, but just for minor stuff like traffic violations and DUis. You know, for overnight or for a week or so, stuff like that. But my uncle robbed a bank, and my aunt [his sister] let him keep all his guns in her apartment. So when he got caught, she went to jail, too ... And when my uncle was in prison, he ended up in the same prison with my grandpa. And my grandpa said he hadn't seen his son in 3 or 4 years [before he saw him in prison]. And after my grandpa got out, he said it was really hard to see his son like that ... Right now, my little brother's locked up. He was with my cousin. They took my stepdad's guns and pulled a drive-by. He's been locked up since he was about 14 or 15. (Vinnie, age 18) My grandfather was in prison before my dad. My grandfather just recently died in prison. And my uncle was in prison with my dad. And me and my brothers and sisters ended up in foster care because my mom got busted dealing. She did it because she had no man. She said she had no man around to help her and she was taking care of five kids at the time and she was struggling. So she went to the only thing she knew She said she wasn't going to go out there and sell her body, not with five kids. She was bringing home money. She made sure our Christmases were happy all the time. But she got locked up, just being greedy. (Dewan, age 21) Prison is basically in my family. And it's embarrassing. My mother's side has a bloodline of alcoholism and drugs. My father's side has drugs, alcohol, and sex. The only difference is my mother side hasn't really been to prison. They aren't criminals. (Victory, age 18) All three of my dad's brothers have been in and out of prison, even his sisters have been in prison It's been a pretty bad track. Whenever I have a background check of my last name, it's like my dad pops up, my brother pops up, all my dad's brothers pop up. And they ask me if I know these people and I have to say, "Yeah, they're my relatives. There's nothing I can do about it. It's not the route I took." And my 133

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brother is still doing bad, but he's kind ofleaning away from it now because he just had a kid and he's kind of starting to realize that he can't be going in and out of jail, in and out of prison with a kid. He can't leave him behind. Because he's been there. Too many times. (Derek, age 21) Few of the study participants grew up in an environment in which abiding by the law was the norm. Those who were not exposed to criminal activity were protected from such exposure by their mothers or other caregivers. However, the majority of subjects were exposed to varying levels of criminal activity, often from a young age. Residential Instability Twenty-four ofthe twenty-five study participants lived with siblings prior to the fathers' arrest and incarceration (see Appendix B.6). More than one-half of these families were large, with at least four children, and several were blended families with stepand/or half-siblings Thirteen of the study participants lived with both their mother and father prior to the arrest that led to the fathers' incarceration. Most of those who lived with their mothers but not their fathers also lived with others besides siblings, such as the mother's male partner or extended family members. Four subjects lived with their fathers but not their mothers prior to the fathers' incarceration. These respondents also lived with others such as paternal grandmothers or their father's female partners. Two respondents did not live with either the mother or father prior to the father's incarceration. In both cases, the 134

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mothers were drug addicts who were unable to care for their children. One subject lived with his grandmother and the other was adopted. Table 4.5 Reported household makeup (see Appendix B.6) Male Female Total Respondents Respondents n=25 n=20 n=5 Lived with siblings prior to incarceration 19 5 24 Lived with father and mother immediately 10 3 13 before incarceration Lived with mother alone/with others 5 1 6 before incarceration Lived with father alone/ with others 3 1 4 before incarceration Lived with grandparent or 2 0 2 others before incarceration Frequent change of residence 7 2 9 prior to incarceration Frequent change of residence 14 4 18 after incarceration Many of the study participants reported that they often moved or changed caregivers. These relocations often required that the children change schools. Nine of the respondents described frequent moves and residential instability prior to the fathers' incarceration: I basically moved around a lot. When my dad would get mad at my grandmother, he would take me and my older sister out of her home and take us to one of his girlfriend's house. So he kind of moved us around a lot and had us staying with all kinds of different people. (Nikky, age 19) I can't count how many schools I've been to. I was never in a school longer than a year. I even went to a school, we moved, and then four years later, we came back into that county, I went to that school again. 135

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And there were still people there that went there when I was first there. And I was like "Wow, what are you doing here?'' (Nina, age 24) My mother gave me to my dad when I was little. Because she said she couldn't raise a boy. Then he pitched me off to my grandmother because he was selling drugs. (Dewan, age 21) My sister and me had been in and out of foster care and back and forth between my mom and dad before he went to prison. My mom was bipolar and a crack and meth addict and when she couldn't take care of us, either my dad would take us or we'd end up on foster care. (Brian, age 19) One participant described how she came to live with her father, who later sexually abused her: I was staying with my mom and my aunt and my mom was paying my aunt every week to babysit me. And one time my aunt cashed a check of my mom's, and my mom said "Okay, and since you took my check, I'm not going to pay you this week." But my aunt wanted the money, too, and my mom said no. So she called both sides of the family and she said, "Okay, if nobody comes get her, I'm going to put her in an orphanage or foster care, or whatever I have to do." And so my dad came first, and then another aunt came the day after my dad. But she let my dad have me since he got there first. (Nicole, age 18) Residential instability increased for many of the study participants after the fathers' incarceration: an additional nine subjects reported more frequent relocations or changes in caregivers after the father went to prison. Those who remained in stable housing were in stable housing prior to the incarceration. None of the respondents reported increased residential stability after the arrest and incarceration of the father. 136

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Conclusion: Growing Up At Risk The majority of study participants lived complex lives as children and grew up in environments of instability and chaos. Several were involved with various governmental systems during their youth. Some lived in families that avoided governmental interference, often not because their families were any less unstable but because the parents purposefully avoided authority figures. A few fortunate respondents lived in relatively stable homes or had strong commitments to school. While levels of exposure to risk factors varied, none of the study participants described a childhood free from adversity and stress. 137

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CHAPTERS ANALYSIS: LIFE TRAJECTORIES AND TURNING POINTS A retrospective approach of starting with an outcome and looking back to construct a life trajectory when the outcome is already known is not appropriate for causal research. However, at the exploratory level, such an approach may lend itself to the identification of the role risk factors played in the development of the life courses of the study participants. The following analysis incorporates information about where respondents were living at the time of the interview, substance abuse problems, criminal behaviors, and educational and employment status to categorize study participants into two categories: those who are doing well and those who are struggling. Twenty study participants were categorized as struggling while only five were identified as doing well. Of the twenty-five respondents, seven males were living in institutions: six were in a county jail and one was in an in-patient substance abuse treatment facility. No females were living in an institution. All seven of these male subjects had serious substance abuse problems. Six of the seven had struggled with methamphetamine addiction, severe polysubstance abuse, or alcoholism. None had been able to maintain regular employment and all had lengthy criminal histories that included drug distribution, assaults, and theft. All were identified as struggling. 138

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Eight respondents were staying at the homeless shelter: five males and three females All of the males had long histories of serious substance abuse and criminal activity, including drug distribution, assaults, and theft. Four had been diagnosed with mental illnesses. All of the male residents of the shelter were identified as struggling. While the three females respondents staying at the shelter did not have extensive substance abuse and criminal histories like their male counterparts, they all were facing difficulties One was pregnant and suffered from depression one had spent time in an in-patient treatment facility for sex offenders, and one was trying to distance herself from her mentally ill and drug-addicted mother. None were employed or had prospects for employment. All were identified as struggling. Eight subjects, seven males and one female, were living on their own or with others. Five of these seven male respondents were identified as struggling. Four of the five were young males who had been associated with the homeless shelter but had obtained housing. Three of the four had long histories of contact with the juvenile and/or adult justice systems for drug distribution and/or assaultive behaviors and all had serious substance abuse problems. The fourth, while not having the same levels of antisocial behaviors as the other three in this group, had struggled with serious polysubstance abuse and multiple mental health diagnoses. The fifth male respondent living on his own and doing poorly had a history of crack cocaine 139

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addiction, had been incarcerated multiple times, and was on parole for a drug conviction at the time of the interview. The remaining five study participants were identified as doing well. The two study participants who were living on college campuses were good students, were optimistic about their futures, and were easily identified as doing well. The remaining three were living on their own or with others One male held a steady job and was living with his mother at the time of the interview, one male was working and taking classes and living with his girlfriend, and one female was a college student who was living with her husband and small child. Risk Factors and Life Trajectories The literature relating to negative outcomes for children links risk factors to the environment in which children are raised. Specific risk factors emerged in the accounts of study participants that included exposure to parental substance abuse, exposure to violence, exposure to parental mental illness, exposure to criminal activity, and residential instability. The literature also suggests that risk factors may be moderated by protective factors Two protective factors also emerged from the respondents' accounts: exposure to a prosocial caregiver and a commitment to school. The following analysis focuses on risk and protective factors described by respondents and whether they were doing well or were struggling at the time of the interviews. 140

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Risk Factors As might be expected in a purposive sample drawn primarily from a pool in which potential subjects are more easily identified, the majority of study participants had been exposed to multiple risk factors during their childhoods. Levels of risk likely vary with degree of exposure and intensity of each risk factor. However, at the exploratory stage using a small sample, including varying degrees of exposure for all risk factors in an analysis may not be possible. For the following analysis, exposure to each risk factor was coded as a dichotomous variable: either study participants described events that indicated exposure to each risk factor or they did not. Exposure to Substance Abuse Almost all of the study participants, both those doing well and those who were struggling, had been exposed to some level of serious paternal substance abuse. Many also had been exposed to severe maternal substance abuse and/or substance abuse by other caregivers. Since substance abuse was a common theme in the lives of both those who were doing well and those who were not, it is not likely that exposure to parental substance abuse alone accounts for negative outcomes. The role paternal substance abuse played in negative outcomes for study participants may have been to allow for or exacerbate exposure to other risk factors. Six of the twenty-five study participants had not lived with their biological mothers. However, each of these respondents had a stepmother, a grandmother, an adoptive mother, or the father's female partner who had functioned as a maternal 141

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caregiver. Maternal substance abuse, although not as common as paternal substance abuse, also had been a common theme for both those who were doing well and those who were struggling. Table 5.1 Parental substance abuse (see Appendix B.2) Paternal Substance Abuse Maternal Substance Abuse Living Males Females Total Males Females Total Arrangement n=20 n=5 n=25 n=20 n=5 n=25 Institution 617 0/0 617 4/7 010 4/7 Homeless shelter 5/5 3/3 8/8 5/5 2/3 7/8 Living on own or with 4/5 0/0 4/5 3/5 0/0 3/5 other, struggling College campus 1/1 1/1 2/2 0/1 1/1 1/2 Living on own or with 2/2 111 3/3 2/2 111 3/3 other, doing well Total 18/20 5/5 23/25 14/20 4/5 18/25 While exposure to substance abuse alone does not appear to predict negative outcomes in this sample, an analysis of the types of drugs used or the presence of polysubstance abuse provides insight into possible effects of these types of parental substance abuse. The majority of study respondents who described exposure to paternal substance abuse reported fathers who had abused either heroin, crack cocaine, or were polysubstance abusers. Those who reported fathers with such serious drug addictions generally also reported mothers who had similar substance abuse problems. The seven institutionalized male respondents reported surprisingly low levels of parental heroin, crack cocaine, and polysubstance abuse. Only three of the institutionalized respondents reported this type of paternal substance abuse. The 142

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same three also reported similar substance abuse by their mothers. Those subjects who were staying in the homeless shelter or who were living on their own but who had been associated with the homeless shelter provided accounts of extreme substance abuse by their fathers and, in general, their mothers. Only one male in this subgroup did not report exposure to severe paternal and/or maternal substance abuse. However, had been exposed to drugs in utero and had been adopted after his drugaddicted mother was unable to care for him. Table 5 2 Parental heroin, crack cocaine and polysubstance abuse (see Appendix 8.2) Paternal heroin crack Maternal heroin, crack cocaine or polysubstance cocaine, or polysubstance abuse abuse Living Males Female Total Males Female Total Arrangement n=20 s n=25 n=20 s n= n=5 n=5 25 Institution 3/7 0/0 3/7 3/7 010 3/7 Homeless shelter 515 3/3 8/8 4/5 2/3 6/8 Living on own or with 4/5 0/0 4/5 3/5 010 3/5 other, struggling College campus 1/1 1/1 2/2 1/1 Ill 112 Living on own or with 2/2 Ill 3/3 0/2 Ill 113 other doing well Total 15/20 515 20/25 11120 4/5 15/25 The study participants who were doing well also had fathers with serious substance abuse problems However their level of exposure to their fathers differed from those who were struggling. One of the males living on his own and doing well and the male college student living on campus both had heroinor polydrug-addicted fathers. However, they each had been raised by maternal caregivers who had limited 143

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the exposure they had to their fathers. A third male who was doing well had little direct exposure to his father but had been exposed to a polysubstance abusing stepfather. While his mother had also struggled with her own drug and alcohol problems, her substance abuse problems had not been serious enough to prevent her from being able to care for her son. One female respondent who was doing well reported an alcoholic mother, but also described a mother who had been able to work and care for her children. Only one respondent who was doing well described both a mother and father addicted to crack cocaine and who had been unable to care for their children. This female respondent assumed a parental role and had cared for her mother and younger brother. In general, the study participants who reported the most severe forms of parental substance abuse were doing poorly. The males who had lived with both a father and maternal caregiver who had been heroin, crack cocaine, or polysubstance abusers faced many challenges, including their own substance abuse problems, mental health challenges, criminal involvement, poverty, and limited prospects for a better future. While those who were doing well also generally had parents who had serious substance abuse problems, their caregivers usually had been able to provide some level of safety and security for their children. Exposure to Violence Exposure to violence was also a common theme in the accounts of study participants. Sixteen of the twenty-five respondents described either mother battering 144

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or physical or sexual child abuse, often reported in conjunction with the father's substance abuse problems. Eleven of the twenty-five respondents described mother battering, fourteen reported child abuse in the form of physical and/or sexual abuse, and nine reported both. Seven subjects described exposure to community or gang violence. Family violence Mother battering and child abuse were common among those study participants who were struggling. Only one of the five study participants who was doing well described family violence: her mother had been a victim of battering by her father. While twelve of the sixteen study participants who reported family violence indicated that the violence had been at the hands of their fathers, not all of the family violence was attributed solely to the fathers. Three males reported mother battering and physical child abuse by stepfathers or new men in their mothers' lives, two male respondents described physical violence directed at the them by their mothers but not their fathers, one female respondent reported physical child abuse by both her mother and father, two female respondents described physical child abuse by the stepmother or the father's female partner, and two male respondents reported sexual abuse by a foster father or other male caregiver. Ten of the twenty study participants who were struggling witnessed violence directed toward their mothers while fourteen had been the direct victims of childhood physical or sexual abuse. Seven of the child victims reported exposure to multiple forms of child abuse that included physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. Two 145

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respondents reported severe child neglect without the presence of other forms of child abuse or mother battering: both were males who had lengthy criminal histories and who were struggling with severe drug addictions. Table 5 3 Mother battering and child abuse (see Appendix B.3) Exposure to mother battering Exposure to physical or sexual child abuse Living Males Females Total Males Females Total Arrangement n=20 n=5 n=25 n=20 n=5 n=25 Institution 3/7 010 3/7 4/7 0/0 4/7 Homeless shelter 3/5 2/3 5/8 4/5 3/3 7/8 Living on own or 2/5 0/0 2/5 3/5 010 3/5 with other, struggling College campus 0/1 0/1 0/2 0/1 0/1 0/2 Living on own or 0/2 1/1 113 0/2 0/1 0/3 with other, doing well Total 8/20 3/5 11125 11/20 3/5 14/25 Exposure to family violence and severe neglect appears to be linked to negative outcomes for many of the study participants. Sixteen of the twenty study participants who were struggling had been the victims of physical or sexual child abuse or neglect while only one of the five study participants who were doing well had experienced exposure to family violence. In addition, ten of the eleven study participants diagnosed with mental illnesses had been exposed to at least one form of family violence while six had been exposed to both mother battering and child abuse. Community Violence. Reports of exposure to community or gang violence were less common than exposure to family violence. Seven of the twenty-five respondents reported exposure to community or gang violence when they were children. Only 146

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four of these seven respondents admitted to active membership in gangs. However, two additional male respondents who had not been exposed to community or gang violence during childhood acknowledged gang membership: one was in his late teens when he joined his gang and the other reported joining a gang in prison for protection. Table 5.4 Exposure to commUnity or gang violence and gang membership (see Appendix B.3) Exposure to community or Gang membership gang violence during childhood Living Males Females Total Males Females Total Arrangement n=20 n=5 n=25 n=20 n=5 n=25 Institution 017 0/0 017 117 0/0 117 Homeless shelter 2/5 113 3/8 2/5 0/3 2/8 Living on own or 4/5 0/0 4/5 3/5 0/0 3/5 with other, struggling College campus 0/1 0/1 0/2 0/1 0/1 0/2 Living on own or 0/2 0/1 0/3 0/2 0/1 0/3 with other, doing well Total 6/20 115 7/25 6/20 0/5 6/25 All of the study participants who were doing well reported neither exposure to community violence while they were children nor a gang affiliation. While exposure to community or gang violence or gang membership was not common in this sample of children of incarcerated fathers, six of the seven study participants who reported exposure to community violence were either living at the homeless shelter at the time of the interview or had lived there in the past and were still associated with it. Five of the six study participants who acknowledged gang membership were also associated with the homeless shelter. All of the respondents who reported exposure to 147

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community violence also had been victims of child abuse or had witnessed the abuse of their mothers, while six of the seven had been both child victims and witnesses to the abuse of the mother. Exposure to Parental Mentallllness Four mothers and four fathers of study participants were identified as having a serious mental illness diagnosis. No respondents reported both parents as mentally ill. Five of the respondents who reported mentally ill parents also reported their own diagnosis of a mental illness Six additional respondents who did not identify a parental mental health diagnosis reported a personal mental health diagnosis Table 5.5 Exposure to parental mental illness (see Appendix B.4) Parental mental illness Living Arrangement Males Females Total n=20 n=5 n=25 Institution 2/7 0/0 2/7 Homeless shelter 2/5 2/3 4/8 Living on own or with other, 115 0/0 1/5 struggling College campus 0/1 0/1 0/2 Living on own or with other doing 112 0/1 1/3 well Total 6/20 2/5 8/25 Not surprisingly, none of the study participants who were doing well reported a personal mental health diagnosis and only one reported a parental mental health diagnosis. This respondent s primary exposure to his mentally ill father was when his father was taking his prescribed medication and the effects of his father's mental illness had not been apparent to the child The remainder of the study participants 148

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who experienced parental mental illnesses were doing poorly. All of these subjects described parental resistance to taking medication and inadequately controlled parental mental illnesses symptoms. Exposure to Criminal Activity Exposure to criminal activity was another common theme in study participants' accounts Fourteen of the twenty-five study participants reported exposure to criminal activity, often by their fathers, when they were children. Sixteen reported incarcerations of their fathers, primarily stays in jails, prior to the sentence to prison. Ten respondents also reported the incarceration of other family members. Table 5.6 Exposure to criminal activity and familial incarceration (see Appendix B.5) Exposure to criminal Prior paternal incarceration activity or incarceration of other family members Living Males Females Total Males Females Total Arrangement n=20 n=5 n=25 n=20 n=5 n=25 Institution 417 0/0 417 317 0/0 317 Homeless shelter 2/5 3/3 5/8 4/5 3/3 7/8 Living on own or 4/5 0/0 4/5 5/5 010 515 with other, struggling College campus 0/1 0/1 0/2 111 0/1 1/2 Living on own or 0/2 1/1 113 112 1/1 2/3 with other, doing well Total 10/20 4/5 14/25 14/20 4/5 18/25 Only one of the study participants who was doing well had been exposed to criminal activity during childhood. This respondent witnessed both her mother and father distributing drugs and fencing stolen merchandise. She also experienced 149

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repeated paternal incarcerations. The remainder of the study participants who were doing well had caregivers who had protected them from exposure to criminal activity. The remaining thirteen study participants who had been exposed to criminal activity were doing poorly. Eleven of these respondents had witnessed family members manufacturing and/or distributing drugs, seven had witnessed assaults on individuals other than family members, and four had been aware of parental theft. Four of the seven institutionalized participants and five of the eight respondents associated with the homeless shelter had been exposed to familial criminal activity. Three of the five study participants who were doing well described multiple incarcerations of the father or other familial patterns of incarceration. In addition to the female respondent who witnessed both her mother and father's criminal activity, two male respondents described multiple family members who had been incarcerated, primarily for drug-related offenses. Both of these respondents had caregivers who had protected them and had minimized their contact with other criminally active family members. Fifteen of the twenty study participants who were struggling reported multiple paternal incarcerations or the incarceration of other family members. Eleven of the twelve respondents associated with the homeless shelter described the incarceration of multiple family members that included siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, cousin, and mothers. Three of the participants in institutions described siblings, a mother, a grandparent, and an uncle who had spent time in prison. 150

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Exposure to criminal activity was also common among those who reported exposure to other risk factors. Twelve of the fourteen study participants who had been exposed to criminal activity also had been exposed to paternal heroin, crack cocaine or polysubstance abuse when they were children The two respondents exposed to criminal activity but not exposed to paternal substance abuse did not have extensive contact with their fathers: one had been adopted and had been exposed to criminal activity in his neighborhood and the other did not meet his incarcerated father until he was an adolescent and had not been exposed to criminal activity until that time. Exposure to criminal activity and family violence often occurred together. Twelve of the fourteen respondents exposed to criminal activity also reported mother battering, sexual abuse, or severe neglect. With the exception of one female respondent all of these study participants were struggling. Six of the eight study participant who reported parental mental illnesses also had been exposed to criminal activity: all had been exposed to drug distribution and assaults against individuals other than family members. Seven of the eleven respondents who reported a personal mental illness diagnosis also reported exposure to criminal activity. All reported criminal activity that included drug distribution. Exposure to criminal activity in the sample appears to be related to exposure to other risk factors that included severe parental drug abuse family violence and to a lesser extent, parental mental illness Only one of the study participants who was 151

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doing well had been exposed to criminal activity while two-thirds of those who were struggling had been exposed to criminal activity Study respondents who were exposed to criminal activity generally also had been exposed to multiple other risk factors. Exposure to Residential Instability Residential instability prior to the father's incarceration was reported by nine of the twenty-five study participants. All of those who reported residential instability prior to the fathers' incarceration reported continuation of residential instability after the incarceration. However, residential instability dramatically increased for nine additional respondents after the father's incarceration. Table 5.7 Exposure to residential instability prior to and after incarceration (see Appendix B. 7) Exposure to residential Exposure to residential instability prior to instability after incarceration incarceration Living Males Females Total Males Females Total Arrangement n=20 n=5 n=25 n=20 n=5 n=25 Institution 017 0/0 017 517 0/0 517 Homeless shelter 4/5 2/3 6/8 5/5 3/3 8/8 Living on own or 2/5 0/0 2/5 4/5 0/0 4/5 with other, struggling College campus 0/1 0/1 0/2 0/1 0/1 112 Living on own or 0/2 111 1/3 0/2 1/1 1/3 with other, doing well Total 6/20 3/5 9/25 14/20 4/5 18/25 With the exception of one respondent who was doing well, all of those who experienced residential instability prior to the father's incarceration were associated 152

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with the homeless shelter and were facing multiple other risk factors. All study participants who described high levels of residential instability, including the one female who was doing well, also reported heroin, crack cocaine, or polysubstance abuse by at least one parent and seven of these nine participants reported severe substance abuse by both parents. All had been victims of physical child abuse or neglect at the hands of their parents and eight of the nine had been exposed to criminal activity. The childhood of the one study participant who experienced residential instability but who was doing well did not appear to differ from the early years of those who were struggling: she described high levels of residential instability prior to her father's incarceration, parental crack cocaine addiction, and exposure to criminal activity. None of the institutionalized study participants reported residential instability prior to the father's incarceration. They also reported lower levels of exposure to other risk factors than those who reported high levels of residential instability prior to the father's incarceration. However, residential instability dramatically increased among the institutionalized study participants after their fathers' incarceration: five of the seven reported unstable housing after their fathers went to prison. Residential instability also increased after the father's incarceration among the rest of the respondents who were struggling. Eight of the twelve study participants associated with the homeless shelter reported residential instability prior to the father's incarceration but eleven of the twelve reported high levels of residential 153

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instability after the father went to prison and long before they came to the homeless shelter. The additional respondent who was living on his own and struggling reported stable housing prior to his fathers incarceration and a dramatic change in residential stability after his father went to prison. Conclusion: Risk Factors The identified risk factors in the current sample included paternal and maternal substance abuse, especially heroin, crack cocaine, or polysubstance abuse; exposure to family and/or community violence; exposure to a mentally ill mother or father; exposure to criminal activity; multiple paternal incarcerations; familial incarceration; and residential instability. Study participants had been exposed to varying levels of these risk factors. Some were exposed to all, some were exposed to several, and none were exposed to fewer than one environmental risk factor. Risk factors clustered together. Thirteen respondents had lived with mothers who abused heroin crack cocaine, or polysubstances. All also had been exposed to paternal heroin, crack cocaine, or polysubstance abuse. Eleven of these thirteen subjects had experienced residential instability and eleven had been exposed to family violence or had been severely neglected. Ten of the thirteen had been exposed to familial incarceration and nine had been exposed to criminal activity. Six of the eight I respondents who reported a mentally ill parent also had a mother who had abused I 1 heroin, crack cocaine, or polysubstances. I ., 154

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Of the thirteen study participants who had lived with mothers who abused heroin, crack cocaine, or polysubstances, eight were associated with the homeless shelter and three were in institutions. However, two of the thirteen were succeeding. Although addicted to alcohol and cocaine, the mother of one of these respondents was able to work and provide a home for her son. He was one of only two respondents who lived with addicted mothers who did not experience residential instability. The other respondent who was succeeding was doing so against all odds. She had been exposed to severe maternal and paternal substance abuse, family violence, criminal activity, and residential instability both before and after her father went to prison. Another group of environmental risk factors clustered around exposure to familial criminal activity. Fourteen respondents, ten males and four females, had been exposed to criminal activity. Twelve of the fourteen also had been exposed to family violence or severe neglect. While seventeen of the twenty male respondents in the sample admitted to engaging in criminal activity, all of the males who had been exposed to criminal activity by family members engaged in criminal activity, primarily drug distribution, theft, and assault. The most active offenders were also in this group. However, there was a notable difference between males and females exposed to familial criminal activity. While all of the males engaged in criminal activity, only one female reported her criminal involvement: she had been both a victim of sexual assault on a child and a perpetrator of the same crime. The 155

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remaining three females all spoke of not wanting to be like other criminally active members of their families. Perhaps the most telling of all the environmental risk factors for this sample was residential stability after the father's incarceration. Four of the five study participants who were doing well had been in stable housing prior to and after their fathers went to prison. Three had been living with their mothers while the fourth had lived with his grandmother. Only two of the twenty respondents who were struggling had remained in stable homes after the father went to prison. Both had been adopted and, while their housing situations did not change, both had rejected their adoptive families and had been active juvenile and later adult offenders. Looking back, the life trajectories and outcomes for many study participants appear to be linked to several risk factors. Those whose had been exposed to mothers who were mentally ill or drug addicts also had experienced high levels of residential instability. This combination of risk factors appears to be linked to the subjects' current outcomes: in general, those subjects who had been exposed to mothers who could not care for or provide a home for them were themselves unable to maintain residential stability and were struggling with severe substance abuse problems. Subjects who had been exposed to criminal activity in general were also criminally active. Those subjects who had been exposed to severe child abuse were struggling while none of the respondents who were doing well had been child victims. However, several of the subjects who were struggling did not report exposure to high 156

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levels of maternal or residential instability, criminal activity, or child abuse. While these risk factors appear to account for many of the challenges study participants were facing, they do not account for all. Additional Risk Factors Other environmental risk factors may also play a role in negative outcomes. Two additional themes that appear to be linked to negative outcomes for this sample emerged and are included in this analysis: witnessing the arrest of the father and outof-home placement by the Department of Social Services. Witnessing the arrest is associated with a father-child relationship that implies contact between the two. An out-of-home placement indicates a caregiver that is not able to provide for the child. Both of these risk factors may be particularly significant to the child if the fatherchild relationship prior to incarceration had been strong or if the father had provided a level of stability that the mother could not. Witnessing the Arrest While the majority of study participants had not present when their fathers were arrested for the crime for which they went to prison, ten of the twenty-five respondents reported that they had witnessed the arrest of their fathers. For those who were present, the memory of the event was vivid: I was there when he was arrested. I was in the living room and my grandma was arrested in the process, and they took me to a foster home. The only thing I remember is just the police picking me up and taking me outside. All I remember is the door getting kicked in, I'm sitting in the living room playing, they come inside and get me and 157

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take me out to the police car, and they got my grandmother out next, and then here comes my dad, fighting. And I heard two gunshots, that's all I heard. My dad got shot two times in the process of being arrested. (Dewan, age 21) What I remember was they just kicked in the door and grabbed him. Everybody was standing around crying and hollering. And they took him out ... We didn't have any idea what was going on .. .l didn't find out for a long time what he was arrested for. (Keith, age 42) I was sitting between my mom and dad in the my dad's truck. And my mom was all high. And I guess my dad had sold heroin to an undercover cop and they pulled him over as he was driving away. I remember this officer picked me up. I was sitting in the car with him and he was on the phone with Social Services, letting them know what's happened. I don't know how she did it, but my mom was able to get me back. I remember going to court, I remember going inside the courtroom, and we left like four days later after my mom realized that my dad wasn't getting out this time. (David, age 20) I remember the day that he went away. We were all sitting in the back yard. People came and handcuffed my father in front of me and dragged him away. And I didn't really understand what was going on. But my dad always felt so ashamed that he had to be arrested in front of his kids and his wife and everything. It was such a big deal, because it was just a family day out in the back yard and then that had to happen ... My mom tells me she just felt so heart-wrenched that her kids had to witness that. And so disgraced that the police had to carry it out in that manner. (Allison, age 18) Several of the male respondents who had been present when their fathers were arrested identified the arrest as the moment when they developed a life-long hatred of law enforcement: We were chillin' and it was the middle of the day and my dad was having a barbeque and there was like ten, fifteen people in the house and they were all getting high, and there was this big-ass cloud of smoke. My mom was at work. And, we heard a knock at the door, and then my dad goes and looks out the little hole in the door and he 158

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picks me up and runs out the back door. And as soon as he ran out the back door, there were all these cops in the back yard, and he just turned around and comes back in, and he put me down And there were cops with guns just flooding into the house. And they raided the place. And I remember seeing my dad on the ground and he was trying to fight them and they fucked him up, they really fucked him up. And I've had problems with the police ever since that. I hate cops, I don't like them, I've shot at cops. I have a very, very, very big hatred of the police. I don't like them, just because of what they did to my dad. (Ian, age 18) My [little] brother and I were in bed when the S.W.A.T. team busted down the door. My dad was watching TV and my mom was in another part of the house. The cops came into our bedroom and this one officer told us "Your dad is bad, he's never going to come home again. He doesn't deserve to be at home and you guys better get used to writing him letters." ... They wouldn't let us see our mom. They kept us in separate rooms while they took my dad away. I guess they decided they needed to search the house after they arrested my dad. That's when they kicked my mom and us out ofthe house ... I know this really affected my little brother. He was in counseling and he was just a little kid. He was afraid of the police for a long time. He's not afraid of them anymore. Now he just hates them. I hate them, too. (Craig, age 23) I was looking out the window when they were taking him away. I just wanted to go hug him and they wouldn't let me .. .I hated them for that. I still hate them. I hate all these systems. They just screw up people's lives. (Brian, age 19) I was right there when my dad was arrested. Me and my mom and my little brother. I think it was a weekend because both my mom and dad were home. It was in the afternoon and a bunch of cops showed up at the house. My mom answered the door and they came in and grabbed my dad and threw him down and put handcuffs on him. It freaked me out. I had no idea what was going on. My brother and me and my mom were all crying. A couple of cops took my brother and me into our bedroom and sat with us. We could hear my dad yelling and my mom crying. They kept us in there while they searched the house. They didn't tell us anything. They must have found a bunch of dope somewhere in the house or in the garage. They took a bunch of stuff 159

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out of the house and then my dad was gone. Those fucking cops were just assholes. They could hardly wait to get their hands on all of our shit. That's all they wanted. (Trevor, age 23) All ten of the respondents who described witnessing the arrest of their fathers had been living with their fathers at the time of the arrest. Three of these respondents reported mother battering, two described mother battering and child abuse by the father, and one described severe neglect by the father. However, only two of these respondents described their fathers in extremely negative terms: both had been victims of severe child abuse by their fathers. The remaining eight subjects had positive views of their fathers and those who had witnessed the assault of the mother or who had been victimized by the father described his abusive behavior as related to substance abuse. Table 5.8 Witnessing arrest of the father (See Appendix 8.5) Witnessed arrest of the father Did not witness the arrest Living Males Females Total Males Females Total Arrangement n=20 n=5 n=25 n=20 n=5 n=25 Institution 517 0/0 517 2/7 0/0 2/7 Homeless shelter 2/5 0/3 2/8 3/5 3/3 6/8 Living on own or 2/5 0/0 2/5 3/5 0/0 3/5 with other, struggling College campus 0/1 111 112 111 0/1 1/2 Living on own or 0/2 0/1 0/3 2/2 1/1 3/3 with other, doing well Total 9/20 1/5 10/25 11120 4/5 15/25 With the exception of one, all of the males who reported witnessing the arrest of their fathers also had been exposed to high numbers of environmental risk factors. 160

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Six of the nine males had mothers who had abused heroin, crack cocaine, or polysubstances. However, only three respondents, all males, described residential instability prior to the arrest. With the exception of one, all of the fathers had contributed financially to the family All of the male respondents who reported witnessing the arrest of the fathers also reported residential instability after the father's incarceration. The single female respondent who had witnessed the arrest of her father had been exposed to few risk factors, viewed her father in an exceptionally positive light, expressed only sadness rather than anger when describing the arrest of her father, and had not lost her home after her father went to prison. All of the nine male respondents who had witnessed the arrest of the father, both those with positive views of the father and those with negative views, expressed a rejection of conventional society. Those with a positive view of the antisocial father appeared to identify with him. Perhaps of greatest concern is this group s attitude towards law enforcement: they unanimously reported extremely negative views of the police and the criminal justice system, often stating that their views originated with the arrest of the father. One subject reported that he has been charged with assaulting a peace officer. While these young men were likely to develop a distrust and disdain for law enforcement based on the environment in which they were raised, witnessing the arrest of the father at an early age may serve to reinforce such attitudes through a particularly dramatic and deeply imbedded memory. 161

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Child Protective Services Involvement The families of thirteen of the twenty-five respondents, twelve males and one female, had been involved with child protective services when they were children. Seven of the subjects, all males, had been placed in foster care because their drug addicted mothers had not been able to care for them in the absence of the father. Two subjects who did not have mothers, one male and one female, had lived with their fathers prior to his arrest. Both of these respondents had been placed in residential treatment facilities after having been moved around to various family members. Assaultive behaviors by three additional males subjects had led to their removal from their homes and placement in residential treatment facilities. The remaining male respondent involved with child protective services had been placed in foster care at birth when he tested positive for heroin. He had been later adopted by his grandmother and, although he had maintained contact with his parents, he did not live with them again. Several of the males placed initially in foster care were later placed in residential treatment facilities because of behavioral problems. Two of the male respondents and the single female respondent placed in residential treatment centers stated that their stays in residential treatment facilities had been beneficial. However, the majority of subjects had little to say about foster care or residential treatment facilities that was positive. They frequently described abusive conditions in foster homes and treatment centers and often expressed anxiety over the forced separations 162

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from siblings and parents. While several recognized that their parents had been unable to care for them, a common view was that involvement with the Department of Social Services had made their lives worse: He was my foster father. He was single. And he did it [sexual abuse] to my foster brother, too. I just had one final outburst. I just tore up the whole house. Maybe I did it just to get out of there. At the time I was just so mad and angry. And that wouldn't have happened if my dad was around. Cause I would have been at home with my dad. All these "maybes, what-ifs, should haves." But I mean, the prison system, I just want to keep hitting that, the prison system. It's no good. Maybe that shit wouldn't have happened to me, I could have been a totally different person, if my dad would have been around to help me and I hadn't had to go into foster care. So after the foster care stuff, I went to [a residential treatment facility]. And I was there for a long time. And it was still the anger stuff. And there, they literally restrain kids if you have outbursts, so I had rug bums on my face and stuff like that. And I didn't have nobody to talk to. I mean, my life could have been a whole lot better if I was with my Pops, or somebody I could have been there with that's family. Just to know that I'm all alone. (David, age 20) They always talk about what is in the best interest of the child. But taking kids away from their families and never letting them see them again is not in the best interest of the child. It really fucks you up. I know that my parents were having a hard time taking care of us, but I wish that when they terminate parental rights that they still let the kids see their families. Not live with them, but let them see each other. I had no idea what happened to my family. Right now, Social Services is going to help pay for me to go to college. Big deal. They took my life away from me. They took away my family. I just wish they had left me with my family. And this, this is supposed to make up for that?" (Brian, age 19) Eight of the nine male study participants who were affiliated with the homeless shelter had been in out-of-home placements after their fathers went to prison. The remaining male in the shelter group was taken in by extended family 163

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members after his mother died from a drug overdose and his father went to prison. Otherwise, he, too, would have been placed in foster care. Two of the three study participants in institutions who had been involved with child protective services also had drug-addicted mothers who could not care for them. The third was placed in a treatment facility after his adoptive mother was not able to control his behavior. Table 5.9 Child protective services involvement (See Appendix B.6) Child protective services No child protective services involvement involvement Living Males Females Total Males Females Total Arrangement n=20 n=5 n=25 n=20 n=5 n=25 Institution 3/7 0/0 3/7 4/7 0/0 417 Homeless shelter 5/5 1/3 6/8 0/5 2/3 2/8 Living on own or 3/5 0/0 3/5 2/5 0/0 2/5 with other, struggling College campus 011 0/1 0/2 111 111 2/2 Living on own or 1/2 0/1 1/3 1/2 1/1 2/3 with other, doing well Total 12/20 1/5 13/25 8/20 4/5 12/25 Ten of the twelve male respondents involved with child protective services reported serious personal substance abuse and eleven of the twelve had histories of criminal involvement involving drug distribution, assaults, and theft. Nine of the ten male study participants who reported a personal mental health diagnosis were also in this group. In general, with the exception of the male adopted as a toddler by his grandmother, males who had experienced the involvement of child protective services also were exposed to many other risk factors, expressed highly antisocial attitudes, and were highly active criminal offenders. 164

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Protective Factors Study participants were exposed to various types of risk factors and the levels of intensity of their exposure varied. Several also had been exposed to protective factors that likely moderated the effects of exposure to risk factors. Protective factors for the purpose of this study include having a prosocial caregiver throughout childhood and a commitment to school. Prosocial Caregiver Prosocial caregivers were identified through respondents' descriptions as those caregivers who had been able to adequately care for their children and who had not engaged in criminal activity. Eleven of the study participants described caregivers that met the prosocial criteria. Three of the eleven prosocial caregivers had struggled with substance abuse after the fathers went to prison, but had been able to overcome or sufficiently control their substance abuse and had provided a home for their children that did not involve residential instability. One-half of the male study participants reported a primary caregiver who met the criteria ofprosocial. However, only one of the five female respondents reported a caregiver, who, although the mother was identified as an alcoholic, had still been able to provide for and care for her children. Seven of the ten males who reported prosocial caregivers were doing poorly: three were in jail, one was in treatment for methamphetamine addiction, one was homeless, one was on parole for a drug crime, and one was heavily involved in gangs and drug distribution. 165

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Table 5.10 Prosocial caregiver (see Appendix B.8) Prosocialcaregiver Lack of prosocial caregiver Living Males Females Total Males Females Total Arrangement n=20 n=5 n=25 n=20 n=5 n=25 Institution 417 0/0 4/7 3/7 0/0 3/7 Homeless shelter 015 0/3 0/8 4/5 3/3 7/8 Living on own or 3/5 010 3/5 3/5 010 3/5 with other, struggling College campus 111 111 2/2 0/1 0/1 0/2 Living on own or 2/2 0/1 2/3 0/2 111 113 with other, doing well Total 10/20 115 11/25 10/20 4/5 14/25 Three of the ten male subjects with prosocial caregivers were doing well : two were in college and one had a stable job that paid well However two of the three who were doing well had experienced high levels of drug use when they were juveniles and both had been arrested and had spent time in jail. The single female respondent who reported a prosocial caregiver was attending college had been an outstanding high school student, had never had contact with the criminal justice system, and expressed high levels of prosocial attitudes and beliefs. With the exception of one female respondent, all of the study participants who had not had prosocial caregivers were doing poorly. The caregivers for these respondents had been unable to care for their children, generally because of serious substance abuse or mental health problems and had frequently engaged in criminal behaviors Child protective services had also been involved with many of these families Three of the male respondents without prosocial caregivers were in jail and 166

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all ofthese jailed respondents had struggled with methamphetamine addictions. Five of the male respondents without pro social caregivers were staying at the homeless shelter : one had recently been released from prison and was on parole, two were deeply involved in gangs, and one was a sex offender. All five of these respondents had also been diagnosed with mental health problems: one with schizophrenia, three with bipolar disorder, and one with conduct disorder. While two young male respondents without prosocial caregivers were living on their own, both were doing poorly: they had extensive contact with the juvenile justice system and had lengthy juvenile and young adult histories of assaultive behaviors and substance abuse. Four of the five female respondents did not have prosocial caregivers. Three of these four young women were staying at the homeless shelter and were unemployed One was soon to leave the homeless shelter for a facility that houses single pregnant young One was attempting to stay away from her mentally ill mother, and the third homeless female was a sex offender. The fourth female without a prosocial caregiver was the only respondent without a prosocial caregiver who was doing well: she was living with her husband and young child and was completing her undergraduate degree. The presence of a prosocial caregiver appeared to be linked to success in this small sample : only one of the five study respondents who was doing well and who expressed prosocial attitudes and beliefs had a mother or other caregiver who had serious substance abuse problems and who had engaged in criminal activity. All of 167

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the respondents who did not have prosocial caregivers were struggling and all of the study participants who expressed the highest levels of antisocial attitudes were in this group. However, while the presence of a prosocial caregiver may be crucial for success, especially for males, the presence of such a caregiver did not prevent the majority of the male respondents in the prosocial caregiver subgroup from becoming involved with serious substance abuse and/or the criminal justice system. Commitment to School Commitment to school was the second protective risk factor included in this analysis. It is not surprising that four of the five study participants who were doing well expressed a strong commitment to education since they were all recruited through higher education contacts. However, their commitment to school had been present throughout their childhoods. Since the sample contained only one successful study participant not recruited in this manner, it is not possible to speculate about the importance of a commitment to school for the children of incarcerated fathers who did not attend college but who are not struggling with substance abuse problems or involvement with the criminal justice system. This single study participant who was doing well but who did not have a commitment to school during adolescence dropped out of high school, struggled with substance abuse, was briefly involved with the criminal justice system, but later returned to school and turned his life around with the strong support of his prosocial mother. 168

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Table 5.11 Commitment to school Commitment to School Dropped out of school Living Males Females Total Males Females Total Arrangement n=20 n=5 n=25 n=20 n=5 n= 25 Institution 017 0/0 017 7/7 0/0 7/7 Homeless shelter 0/5 0/3 0/8 515 1/3 6/8 Living on own or 0/5 0/0 0/5 3/5 0/0 3/5 with other, struggling College campus 1/1 111 2/2 0/1 0/1 0/2 Living on own or 1/2 111 2/3 112 0/1 1/3 with other, doing well Total 2/20 2/5 4/25 16/20 115 17/25 Three of the five study respondents who were doing well had both a pro social caregiver and a commitment to school. Two ofthe small group of successful study participants had only one protective factor. One female respondent took care of her crack-addicted mother while doing well in school and one male respondent dropped out of school but was able to return to school, attend college, and find stable employment with the help of his prosocial mother. Lack of Protective Factors The lack of both of these two protective factors appears to be linked to negative outcomes for study participants. A prosocial caregiver was not able to prevent failure for seven of the ten male respondents, but none of the respondents who had neither a prosocial caregiver nor a commitment to school was successful. More than one-half of the respondents had neither a prosocial caregiver nor a commitment to school and all of these study participants were struggling While 169

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some in this group expressed a desire to conform to societal norms and to obtain stable employment, none had been able to overcome their problems with substance abuse, mental health problems, or criminal involvement. Table 5.12 Prosocial caregiver, commitment to school, and respondent prosocial attitudes and behaviors Subject prosocial attitudes Subject lack of prosocial and behaviors attitudes and behaviors Males Females Total Males Females Total n=20 n=5 n=25 n=20 n=5 n=25 Prosocial caregiver 2 1 3 0 0 0 and commitment to school Prosocial caregiver 1 1 2 7 0 7 or commitment to school Neither prosocial 0 0 0 10 3 13 caregiver nor commitment to school Total 3/20 2/5 5/25 17/20 3/5 20/25 Other Protective Factors It is likely that other protective factors, such as access to prosocial mentors, teachers, or counselors, may help some children of incarcerated fathers avoid following in their fathers' footsteps. However, this theme did not emerge in the sample for this study. While a few respondents reported efforts by their mothers to have prosocial male role models or mentors in their lives, they uniformly described rejecting these men because they did not want a replacement for their fathers. I've had father figures, but there was a wall, you see, because I didn't have a real father for so long. It was like, "You're not my dad, don't 170

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tell me what to do because I'm not going to listen to you." And I tried so hard to break through that wall, but there was still a wall there. Even though I was yearning for a father figure, it just didn't happen. (Victory, age 18) You know, my mom's church family was good for her, but those guys just don't know what to do with kids whose dads are in prison. I just pushed them away. No one was going to take my dad's place. And she tried to get them to take me and my brother fishing, but we would say to their face "You're not my dad and don't try and be my dad." (Craig, age 23) Before my asshole stepdad came along, my mom got me into Big Brothers. I got this guy, he was really nice to me. I'd see him like once a week, and he'd take me to the movies or we'd go to the park, stuff like that. It was pretty fun, but I don't think he really helped me that much. I mean, he wasn't my dad. (Trevor, age 23) I had uncles, but they were hooked on drugs, so they weren't much in the way of father figures. What I had were other kids' parents and coaches. But, all those relationships were very superficial. (Jeron, age 28) One study participant described his experience with mentors who served as antisocial rather than prosocial role models: But I've had other kinds of father figures besides just my biological father and my adoptive father. You know, elders that taught me stuff. The stuff I know right now I didn't get from either my biological parents or the family that adopted me. I got it from the guys on the streets. And several of those father figures are in prison right now, too. I still stay in contact with them. You know, friends' fathers, father-figures from the streets. (Robert, age 20) Only one study participant, a female subject with a strong commitment to school, described a relationship with a teacher that provided her with an incentive to excel. This opportunity had not been available for many of the study participants 171

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who were struggling. They had lived with families that were highly mobile and generally attended troubled schools where they had not had the opportunity to form mentoring relationships with teachers. These respondents often described keeping a distance from teachers or school counselors for fear that school personnel would discover what was happening in their homes. Without the opportunity to form trusting relationships with prosocial role models, many of these children remained immersed in a world of antisocial attitudes and behaviors. Conclusion: Risk Factors and Life Trajectories As might be expected, those subjects who had been exposed to the highest numbers of risk factors were generally doing poorly while those who were doing well had been exposed to fewer numbers of risk factors However several study participants who were doing poorly had been exposed to few risk factors. Only one respondent exposed to high numbers of risk factors was doing well. Despite all of the negative events in her life, she expressed a strong commitment to school. Without a commitment to school, it is likely that the outcomes for this young woman would have been similar to her counterparts who were exposed many risk factors. The most significant risk factor for this sample, especially for males, appears to be involvement with child protective services after the father went to prison. While child protective services were often involved in those families whose mother were addicted to heroin, crack cocaine, or polysubstances, the outcomes for males with child protective services involvement after the father's incarceration were 172

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unifonnly extremely negative When a father who had been providing for the family was sent to prison, these families often quickly disintegrated and the male subjects were placed in foster care or treatment facilities. All seven of the male subjects who experienced the combination of dependence on the father and the involvement of child protective services after the father s incarceration had been institutionalized had serious substance abuse problems, and exhibited highly antisocial and criminal behaviors Five these seven already had mental health diagnoses and the other two may yet be diagnosed with a mental disorder Risk Factors and Turning Points The majority of study participants described events during their childhood that were beyond their control and that dramatically changed their lives. While not all turning points led to a new life trajectory that was significantly worse than prior to the life-changing event turning points frequently resulted in subjects' exposure to more or intensified risk factors The father's incarceration created an immediate turning point for fourteen of the twenty-five respondents Changes that stemmed from the incarceration included the loss of the father s income, residential instability, a sense of loss from the absence of the father, and assuming a caregiver role for other family members Some turning points in respondents' lives were indirectly related to the incarceration. While the arrest and incarceration of the fathers did not appear to immediately and significantly affect the trajectory of the lives of eleven respondents 173

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other turning points in their lives were often associated in some way with their fathers' incarceration. These turning points occurred some time after the father was sent to prison and included the presence of a new father figure, discovering the truth about the father, reunification with the father, and the realization by some subjects that they were following in their fathers' footsteps. Turning Points: Paternal Incarceration The fathers' incarceration was a direct turning point that quickly led to increased exposure to risk factors in the lives of eleven male and three female study participants. The remaining eleven respondents reported no major changes in their lives. Life with relatively stable caregivers continued on for six of these subjects while five remained in chaotic families with highly unstable caregivers. The imprisonment did not result in exposure to fewer risk factors for any of these respondents. Table 5.13 Father's imprisonment as a turning point (see Appendix B.8) Living Males Females Total Arrangement n=20 n=5 n=25 Institution 417 0/0 4/7 Homeless shelter 3/5 113 4/8 Living on own or with other, struggling 4/5 0/0 4/5 College campus 0/1 111 112 Living on own or with other, doing well 0/2 1/1 113 Total 11120 3/5 14/25 All eleven males for whom the fathers' imprisonment was a turning point were doing poorly. Two of the three females who reported serious negative 174

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consequences from their fathers' imprisonment were doing well while one of the females was homeless. Conversely, two of the three females staying at the homeless shelter and the only three male respondents who were doing well did not report their fathers' incarceration as turning points. The remaining six male respondents who had not experienced immediate changes after their fathers' incarceration were all doing poorly. Three of these males had been living in violent and/or substances-abusing households both prior to and after the fathers' incarceration. The remaining three males who did not report immediate changes had remained with their conventional caregivers: two were adopted while the third was living with his mother and stepfather and was not aware that his biological father was in prison. Loss of Father's Income Twenty of the twenty-five respondents reported that their fathers had helped support the family through financial contributions, although for a few, the contributions were small. Fourteen subjects identified the father as the primary breadwinner, five reported that their fathers had made contributions but that the fathers had not been the family's principal source of income, and one stated that both his mother and father had held well-paying jobs. Sixteen subjects reported that their fathers had contributed through legal income, eleven reported illegal income, and seven reported that the father's contribution had been from both legal and illegal sources. 175

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Table 5.14 Financial contribution by father (see Appendix B. 7) Financial Contribution by Financial contribution by Father through Legal Means Father through Illegal Means Living Males Females Total Males Females Total Arrangement n=20 n=5 n=25 n=20 n=5 n=25 Institution 517 0/0 517 417 0/0 4/7 Homeless shelter 3/5 1/3 4/8 2/5 1/3 3/8 Living on own or 4/5 0/0 4/5 2/5 010 2/5 with other, struggling campus 0/1 111 1/2 0/1 1/1 1/2 Living on own or 1/2 Ill 2/3 0/2 1/1 1/3 with other, doing well Total 13/20 3/5 16/25 8/20 3/5 11125 All of the subjects in institutions reported a financial contribution by their fathers, either through legal or illegal means. Four of the male subjects and two of the female subjects staying at the homeless shelter reported financial contributions by their fathers. The one father who had not contributed to his homeless son's support suffered from a severe mental illness. The father of the female respondent staying at the homeless shelter who had not contributed to her support was a polysubstance abuser addicted to crack cocaine. Four of the five male subjects living on their own but doing poorly stated that their fathers had contributed to their support through legal means while two the four reported that their fathers had supplemented their legal incomes through drug sales or theft. 176

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Only one of the males who was doing well reported legal financial support in the form of child support payments by his father prior to the father's incarceration. The other two males who were doing well did not live with their fathers prior to imprisonment. Both reported that their fathers had not contributed to their support and that their fathers' primary sources of income had been through drug sales. Unlike their male counterparts who were doing well, both females reported that their fathers had contributed to their support, had held legal employment, and had supplemented their incomes through illegal means. Almost all of the males who were doing poorly had depended on their fathers for financial support when they were children while two out of three males who were doing well had not. Four out of five female respondents also had been financially dependent on their fathers. None of the five respondents whose fathers had not contributed to their support had been living with their fathers prior to the incarceration and four of these five fathers had been heroin or crack cocaine addicts. Change of Residence Perhaps the most obvious direct effect of incarceration is the loss of housing if the father was contributing financially to the household. Residential instability was a frequent theme in study participants' accounts. While nine of the twenty-five study participants described unstable housing prior to the fathers incarceration, an additional nine reported that the loss of the father's financial contribution had led to a change of residence after the father's imprisonment. The 177

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I I I I J I I loss of housing often appeared to be the start of a dramatic downward turn for the families left behind: We moved [after my dad went to prison]. We rented a house but had to move and ended up in a motel where there were lots of drugs. It was a place where people lived there ... [My mother] was sleeping with guys [trading sex for money and drugs] and getting high ... Me and my brothers and sister were out on the streets ... We weren't really homeless, cause we stayed with friends ... It was really hard to see my mom doing what she was doing. (Elias, age 26) We had to move in with my aunt ... And my mom started working more. She had two jobs [as a housekeeper] ... She wasn't around very much ... We stayed [with my aunt] for about two years, then [my mom] found another guy ... He was kind of violent ... And he drank. (Keith, age 42) We had a really nice house. I had my own room, we had a big-screen TV, and all kinds of stuff ... We lost everything [when my dad went to prison] ... know my mom tried to sell the house. I think she did sell it, but all the money she made from selling it went to pay the attorneys. All I know is that we stayed in the house for a little while and then we had to move. And my mom was freaking out ... Well, we sure as hell couldn't afford to stay in [the area we had been living in]. My mom didn't have a job, most of the money was gone ... We moved into this really crappy apartment [in a bad neighborhood] because it was all we could afford. (Trevor, age 23) It was my dad's house, he owned it. We lost it to a drug seizure. (I ended up going to my grandmother's house] and I didn't see my mom or hear from her for about four months. And when I heard from her she told me "Your Daddy's in prison and he's not coming back." We lost the house and she ended up homeless. She started selling marijuana to make the money so she could get me back. She ended up losing her job and everything. When she got an apartment [and got another job] she came and picked me up. (Ian, age 18) And after my dad went to prison and since my mom was dead, we didn't have anywhere to go, so we were all [sent out of state]. My brothers and sisters and me were all split up between 3 aunts and 178

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uncles. It was kind of just kept within the family. We were lucky because Social Services didn't put us in foster care. (Aaron, age 22) One participant described moving to another state to be closer to members of his mother's family after his heroin-addicted father's arrest: We rode the Greyhound. I remember that bus ride. And we just came out here and stayed at this motel. And my mom ended up leaving us in a church, me and my sister, and that's how we ended up in foster care. (David, age 20) The loss ofthe father's income forced the separation of one subject's family and left him alone to fend for himself: When my dad went to prison, that's where the family was tom apart. My dad was the sole breadwinner. My mom never really worked. That basically was where I guess my life really changed. The only work my mom had ever done was as a maid. We lost everything my dad's income, his insurance, and all his benefits through the mill. We just ran out of money. We couldn't get public assistance. It was to the point we couldn't even get food stamps. I don't know why, my mom didn't tell me. But she had to go back to work. And she couldn't find work where we lived so she moved away to live with her sister. My younger brothers and sisters moved in with my older brother and sister, but because I was 16 by then, nobody wanted to take me. So I stayed in our house and it just started falling apart until it was just unlivable. I was pretty much one step from being homeless. I didn't have any lights, I didn't have any heat, I just used candles. They cut the lights off, I cut them back on until they came back and took the box away. At that point, I still had gas and I'd try to keep warm by standing by the stove. At that point, I just did whatever I had to do to get food. (JD, age 45) Three of the mothers had temporarily placed their sons with other family member while they made arrangements to care for their children after the father went to prison. All three of these subjects rejoined their mothers. Three male respondents 179

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and one female subject had lived with their fathers but not their mothers prior to the incarceration. Two of the males had been taken in by other family members and one had been placed in foster care. The female subject had moved to her physically and mentally ill mother's residence where she had become a caregiver for her mother and three siblings. Four male respondents had been placed in foster care within one year of the time their fathers went to prison. Three had lived with both their mothers and fathers and one had lived with his mother but often had stayed with his father when his mentally ill and drug-addicted mother had not been able to care for him All four of these subjects had mothers who were heroin, crack cocaine, or polysubstance abusers and all described lives that went from bad to much worse: It wasn't very good before my dad went to prison, but we were more stable, even though the drugs were the main issue .. If my mom had been able to get some help after he was arrested, maybe she could have been working and kept the family together My dad really tried hard himself, but after he went to prison, we just really gave up. My mom was just getting high all the time. And me and my brother had to learn how to hustle at a young age. We were trying to provide for our mom and the other kids 'cause she wasn't providing for us. And it just got so bad. And finally foster care came in and took us away. (Elias, age 26) My parents' rights were terminated right about the same time my dad went to prison. After that, I was in and out ofRTCs [residential treatment centers], foster homes, group homes. I remember this one house. There were four of us foster kids. We were always hungry. She'd leave us out in the back yard and we had to go to the bathroom out there. They never fed us enough. That was the first time I ever stole anything. I stole a sandwich from a store because I was so hungry. (Brian, age 19) 180

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Residential instability had been a pattern for many of the respondents long before the fathers had gone to prison. Those respondents whose residences had been unstable prior to incarceration had continued on that path. However, the number of respondents describing high levels of residential instability doubled after the father had gone to prison while none reported increased residential stability after the father's incarceration. Those subjects whose mothers had been unable to care for them and who had been placed in foster care shortly after their fathers had gone to prison had extremely negative outcomes. Two of these subjects were associated with the homeless shelter and two were in jail. All had extensive histories of severe substance abuse and criminal activity. Other Changes Related to Loss of Father's Income. The change of residence was not the only direct effect of the loss of the father's income. Several participants described difficulties their mothers had faced while trying to provide for their children after the father had gone to prison: Well, not having my dad there to provide for us was really bad. It was bad enough that he was gone. But it seems like a lot of the bad shit that happened was because all of a sudden we were really poor. And my mom was just so stressed out. She'd never really worked before so she couldn't get a job that paid very much. She tried all sorts of jobs, but she just couldn't make it. She started drinking too much and then she met my stepdad, cause he liked to drink, too. And I think she ended up with him just because she needed a man to help support us. I remember my mom saying that it was so unfair that all those years my dad worked and paid into Social Security. She thought that since he wasn't there any more, that the kids should be eligible for Social Security. To us, it was like he had died. But I guess the government 181

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doesn't see it that way. My mom always used to say that if we had just been able to get Social Security for my brother and me, things might have been really different. We might have been able to keep the house. Stay in our neighborhood with our friends, keep our stuff. She might have been able to go back to school and get a decent job. And maybe she wouldn't have started drinking so much And maybe she wouldn't have met my asshole stepdad and when my father got out of prison, we might have been able to be a family again. But who knows. (Trevor, age 23) Even though we were on Section 8 [before my dad went to prison], we had some little luxuries that we couldn't afford any more After he went to prison, we had to move and get something a little cheaper and really pay the amount you are supposed to pay with Section 8. So it got hard. It made my mom want to start hustling so she could buy us what we needed. But when he went to prison, we had to rely on Section 8, Medicaid, and all that stuff, and it was really hard for me. Going to get my free lunch in line when I used to have the money to get it. That was really hard for me. And then, of course, the kids would make fun of me. (Nina, age 24) It was hard labor, she was doing stuff like sewing, kind of like in a sweat shop. There was a woman she worked with who lived upstairs from us in the apartment complex. She had three kids, so when my mom was working, she would babysit for us, and when she was working, my mom would take care of her kids. My mom worked a night shift and this other woman worked a morning shift, so they would just switch off. Perfect timing. But it was really hard on my mom. (Derek, age 21) We were able to go back to our house because my grandfather was able to buy it back after it was seized. But a lot of the rest of our stuff was gone. We didn't have any money to live on so my mom had to go to work. (Craig, age 23) We've always been working class. My mom had been taking classes [to get a better job]. But when my dad went to prison, she ended up dropping out of school to go into house cleaning to have more flexible hours to be with my brother and me .... But we couldn't make it on one parent's income. We would have lost the house, but my mom got a lot of support from her father and from her brother. The entire time my 182

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dad was gone, she was receiving financial help from both of them. (Allison, age 18) Only six of the twenty-five respondents reported no financial effects from their fathers' incarceration. Four of these six had lived in relatively stable homes prior to the incarceration: one male had lived with his adoptive mother and father, one had lived with his adoptive mother, one male had lived with his grandmother, and one male had lived with his mother and stepfather. Only one of these four reported that his father had contributed to his support prior to going to prison. However, the other two subjects, one male and one female, who did not report a financial effect had already been living in poverty with their drug-addicted mothers prior to the father's incarceration. Their financial status did not change because their fathers had not contributed to their support prior to incarceration. Sense of Loss of Father Twelve of the twenty-five study participants, ten males and two females, described the loss they felt after their fathers had gone to prison. All of the male respondents who expressed a sense of loss for their fathers were doing poorly. The male respondents who did not express a sense of loss were the three male respondents who were doing well and seven who were doing poorly. Of the seven who were doing poorly, none had a strong emotional connection to their fathers prior to his incarceration for a variety of reasons: three had spent very little time with their fathers 183

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before they went to prison, one had a distant relationship with his father with whom he had lived, and three had been victims of their fathers. Table 5.15 Sense of emotional loss from father absence Sense of emotional loss Living Males Females Total Arrangement n=20 n=5 n=25 Institution 417 0/0 4/7 Homeless shelter 2/5 0/3 2/8 Living on own or with other, struggling 4/5 0/0 4/5 College campus 0/1 Ill 112 Living on own or with other, doing well 0/2 1/1 1/3 Total 10/20 2/5 12/25 With the exception of one male and one female respondent, all of the respondents who expressed a sense of loss also reported that their fathers' incarceration had been a turning point in their lives. The only male whose father's incarceration had led to increased exposure to risk factors and who did not express a sense of loss was a subject who had lived with his crack-dealing and neglectful father and who had rejoined his crack-dealing mother who later also went to prison. The only female whose father's incarceration had led to a turning point but who did not express a sense of loss had been living with her emotionally abusive father and his physically abusive girlfriend. However, after his imprisonment, she had been forced to return to and care for her younger siblings and physically and mentally ill mother. For the majority of respondents whose fathers' incarceration represented turning points, the loss of the father affected many aspects of their lives: 184

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I was in softball that time, I was so good at softball, it was my favorite sport. So I had to go back to school [after his arrest], go back to practice the next day. And my friends knew ... But the thing is, he was at all my games, he was at all my functions, whenever he could be. And everybody knew that when he wasn't there, he was in prison or jail. Because my dad never missed it. Oh, my dad loved it. (Nina, age 24) I really relied on my dad, do you see what I'm saying? The only thing I wanted to do was go to the steel mill. My dad had worked at the steel mill his whole life. So the only thing I could see was the steel mill. You know what, I didn't have to be smart to work in the steel mill. So, basically, once I hit 18, [I thought] I was in the steel mill. My dad was a guaranteed shoo-in. Without him, I had nothing. (J.D., age 45) There was so much anger, huge anger. [My brother and me] were mad at everybody, at my mom, at each other ... Nobody could say anything bad about our dad. We would just come unglued. (Craig, age 23) I missed being able to talk to him. Because I went from seeing him everyday to not seeing him at all. It would have been better to gradually decrease that. Instead of nope, nothing. It would have helped if we could have at least talked to him for a month or so. Like every other day or something. Just to know how he's doing. Cause I didn't know if he was killed or something. (Kenneth, age 19) I would sleep on the floor with my dog, crying. It was just so bad for me. But the hardest thing for me was seeing how much pain my mom and my brother were in. I could see the huge amount of stress it put on her. And how upset she was. And it put even more stress on my brother and my mother's relationship. It definitely changed my brother and my relationship, too. I mean, he automatically stepped into the role, kind ofthe father figure in the house, because he is significantly older than me. He did become protective and supportive in that way. But I really missed out on having a brother in a lot of ways because of that .. But, the absence of my father was definitely there. Some days I'd want to ask my dad something, or wish that he could teach me how to throw a baseball or something like that. And he wasn't there. And my mom was just so busy with work and taking care of us that I spent a lot of time alone. (Allison, age 18) 185

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Few of the study participants had personal contact with their fathers after they went to prison. However, those who had visited their fathers in prison described the difficulty they faced with having to see their fathers in prison: Going to visit him in prison was hard for me. Because it would hurt me. I would cry, because I knew he wasn't going to be coming home with us. So I tried writing letters. And I would cry, and I couldn't fmish them. And my mom would send them just half done ... She stopped making me go because she knew the visits would really affect me. Because I hurt so much because he was there. I'm the type to feel sorry for people. And I'd go in the prison, and I'd see all them and I'd see my dad behind glass. And I would cry and cry and cry and when we left, I would cry for a good two days. And so my mother said "I can't keep doing this to her." So just her and my brother would go. (Nina, age 24) My mom took us to see him a few times, but it was really hard to do. It was a really long drive and my mom had this crappy old car. We never knew if we were going to make it. And the visits were so depressing. Seeing my dad there in his little prison uniform. And all the guards and cameras and all the other losers in prison. After a while, we just quit going. But by then my mom was with my stepdad and she was getting a divorce. (Trevor, age 23) In the beginning, we went every week. Every Sunday we'd go down there. In some weird way, it kind of became my version of church. My family was never religious, but this is what we did on Sunday. It's like my mom would want us to dress up and look nice. And bring things from school to show him .. .I remember going through the security doors. And I think the worst thing was just the smell ofthe place was so stale. The visiting room was the cafeteria and there were these cases of junk food, and the place just smelled unhappy. It was so sad to see everyone in pantsuits sitting with their families and kids and wives and everything. And the cameras everywhere. And my dad looked so tired. Every time I saw him he looked more tired and he had the darkest circles under his eyes. And he never looked healthy. But it was like every time we came in, his face would automatically light up. Like suddenly there was something he could live for. And the most 186

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heart-wrenching thing was having to say goodbye. Because he would cry every time. And he would kiss me and my brother on the cheek and say goodbye. And he'd start shaking sometimes. And the hardest thing was just to see how hurt he was and to have to walk away from him ... But over time, it became less and less-maybe we'd go once every couple of months. And especially, as tensions between my mom and dad grew over time, we didn't go as often. But he was wonderful about sending us birthday cards and writing us letters Asking what we were doing. He wanted to stay so engaged with us. He never let himself fade away, which I really commend him for. Because, you know, we knew that he was still there for us even though he was far away. (Allison, age 18) It was heartbreaking. I just wasn't used to seeing him like that. He was just a much different person. He just had such a saddened look on his face. Not a hardened look like a lot of the other people there. Like he knew, and he knows, what he did was wrong. And that he had control of the situation. And he does feel remorse. But it was really hard to go visit him in prison. I haven't been back to see him [in almost 10 years]. (Aaron, age 22) The real clear memories I have of my dad are in the visiting room. It's really hard for me to picture him any other way. The first time I saw him after he was in prison, he looked so much like the guy I remembered. I wondered weather I should hug him. I waited for him to come to me. I didn't know what to say. We already had talked over the phone a couple of times. But I couldn't ask the questions I wanted to know. We talked about the most mundane things. We tried to pretend we were a normal family again, but it just wasn't possible. He did a great job of being stoic and not breaking down. As I visited him more and more, I could tell it was difficult for him, but it became easier every time. My dad was so ashamed of what he'd done and how he'd let me down, but I can tell that he is proud of me and that he has helped to raise me to the best of his ability (James, age 24) However, not all experienced their fathers' absence as a loss. For some respondents, the fathers' absence provided some degree of liberation. For me it was more of a relief, because I was the target ofhis anger. But it also kind of kicked me in the butt because now Mom needs me. 187

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But that didn't work. At that point, I just started really going downhill. Yeah, I was the oldest, I had responsibilities at home, but I couldn't help them. (B.J., age 22) I remember crying because I didn't want him to leave, but after I thought about what happened, I was glad he was gone ... And after he left, my grades picked up, they picked up a lot. (Victory, age 18) All ofthe subjects who viewed their fathers' incarceration with a sense of loss had been dependent upon their fathers for financial as well as emotional support. The males in this sample who were doing well had not depended on their fathers for either emotional or significant financial support prior to the incarceration while the females who were doing well had depended on their fathers before the incarceration for fmancial and emotional support. The majority of the males who were struggling had both a financial and emotional dependence upon their fathers while the females who were doing poorly lacked either an emotional or financial attachment to their fathers. Assuming Caregiver Role While many changes took place in the lives of more than one-half of the respondents after the father went to prison, six subjects recounted stories of taking on care giving roles for members of their families after the fathers they had depended on went to prison. Three males and three females described taking care of siblings and their substance-abusing and/or mentally ill mothers. For males subjects, these caregiving roles ended with their placement in foster care. For the female subjects, the caregiving roles continued into adulthood: 188

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That was the worst year ever. .. my dad was in prison, again. The whole time he was in prison my mom, that's when she first really started smoking crack .. and [my life] just kept going down. I just became the mom. I cooked I cleaned, I did laundry, I got a job and I've been working ever since ... And I think I was the only 16-year-old who dreaded the weekends I hated weekends. Because I knew what it brought to my home It brought crack. I was never in school on a Monday. Never. Because I cleaned up the mess. And I'm cleaning up beer bottles, I'm cleaning up, at the time I didn't know how to smoke crack, I'm cleaning up all the stuff, the stuff to put it in, and the baking soda. And I'm cleaning up the mess, just in case somebody would say "They had a party." Because I didn't want somebody to come to my house and for them to see that and then take me from my mom. Regardless of what she did, she was my mom. I didn't want to be taken from my mom. (Nina, age 24) Another respondent described caring for his younger sister and his mother prior to his placement in foster care and later caring for both his mother and father after he emancipated out of child protective services and was able to rejoin his mother and father: All of a sudden he couldn't walk no more. So I used to have to carry him to the bathroom and stuff like that. And sometimes I felt really bad, I felt like garbage. Because the last week [before he died] I got kind of mad, I thought it was just the drugs. I thought he took too many drugs .... And that's the way I was treating him. I was like "You're just high. You can't walk, you're high." I didn't know he had medical problems. And sometimes he'd call me in the middle of the night and I'd hear him but I didn't want to get up. And he ended up peeing on himself. And that really made me feel horrible. And I regret that. .. And my mom, before she died, it was crazy with my mom. My whole life, I've always been mad at her. Never forgiven her But the last week, whenever I'd come home, all she wanted to do was, hug me, wanted me to sit on the couch with her. Social Services made her go back on methadone because she was trying to get my sister back. I drove her to get her methadone. And on the way home, she was in the best mood. We went home and made biscuits and gravy. And we were laughing. It was a good, it was fun. We were having a 189

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good time, I was enjoying it with her. And we got done eating and we sat down on the couch and, I was sitting there and she was sitting there like we always did and we were watching TV. And she fell asleep. And about 5 o'clock, she had been asleep all day, and I had went to the store and when I came back, I didn't hear her breathing ... And they said it was from natural causes. No way that could be natural. For her to just go to sleep and not wake up. She had tuberculosis, but there's no way she should have just died like that. I don't know, people talk about God and stufflike that, but I just don't understand why, why? (David, age 20) One female respondent described caring for her mentally ill and drug-addicted mother. Her crack-addicted father had not assisted with the care of the mother and had not contributed financially to support the family. Her role as caregiver did not change because ofher father's incarceration, but her mother's dependence on her prevented her from being able to make a better life for herself: I got accepted into one college. But I couldn't go because I had to help take care of my parents. I was mad because they accepted me and I could have just done it on my own. But I couldn't be on my own because I had to help take care of my mom. And my mom says "you always put your friends in front ofyour family. You always put everyone else in front of your family. And you need to get a job to help support the family." And I'm like "Mom, what are you doing? I'm trying to go to college. I'm trying to make something of myself." (Victory, age 18) All of the males who reported assuming caregiver roles were doing poorly. Two were in jail and one was homeless. All of the males who assumed caregiving roles had been unable prevent the total disintegration of their families after their heroin and crack cocaine-addicted mothers had been unable to provide care for their children. All had been separated from their 190

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mothers and siblings and all have struggled with extensive involvement with the juvenile and criminal justice systems as well as their own problems with substance abuse. Four of the five females in this sample had been forced into some type of caregiver role, primarily assuming almost total care for younger siblings as well as their mothers. Only one female who had assumed a caregiver role was a younger sibling: she reported that her older brother also had taken on a parental role to help with their mother Two of the four females who assumed caregiver roles were doing well. Both had mothers who had struggled with substance abuse problems, while the other two who were doing poorly had mentally ill mothers. Unlike the males who assumed caregiver roles and who soon became involved with child protective services the female caregivers had remained with their mothers and their siblings and had not been placed in foster care. Conclusion: Turning Points Related to Father's Incarceration While only fourteen of the twenty-five respondents described their fathers' incarceration in terms of leading to increased or intensified risk factors, the differences between those for whom paternal incarceration was a turning point and those whose lives changed little were striking. All of the males who described the incarceration as a turning point were doing poorly. 191

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None of the males who were doing well described their fathers' incarceration as a turning point. Ten of the eleven males who described their fathers' incarceration as turning points in their lives were among those with the most negative outcomes. All had serious substance abuse problems and extensive involvement with the juvenile and criminal justice systems and were either institutionalized at the time of the interview, had been institutionalized in the past, or were homeless and all described the incarceration of their fathers as the start of new and more challenging periods in their lives. While few described happy homes prior to the father's incarceration, all but one of this subgroup also described an emotional sense of loss surrounding their fathers' absence. Seven of the ten in this subgroup also were exposed to high numbers of other risk factors. The combinations of risk factors varied; however, common themes were heroin, crack cocaine, or polysubstance additions by the mothers; prior paternal or family member incarcerations; exposure to family violence or neglect; exposure to criminal activity; and residential instability. The three remaining male subjects who described the father's incarceration as a turning point had been exposed to fewer numbers of risk factors and did not have mothers with serious substance abuse problems. However, their mothers had been financially dependent upon the fathers and had been unable to maintain stable housing for their children after the fathers 192

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had gone to prison. The remaining male respondent who identified his father's imprisonment as a turning point was also doing poorly: he was associated with the homeless shelter and had a lengthy history of polysubstance abuse, including heroin and crack cocaine use dating back to his early teens, and had multiple mental health diagnoses. This respondent's primary difference from the other males who identified the fathers' incarceration as a turning point was his lack of a criminal history. The experiences of the few female subjects in this study were very different from their male counterparts. The two females who were doing well both described the incarceration of their fathers as a point at which their lives changed dramatically for the worse. Both described how difficult their lives became, both financially and emotionally, after their fathers went to prison. Two of the females who were struggling were little affected immediately by their fathers' incarceration. The one female who identified her father's incarceration as a turning point did not express any sense of emotional loss for her emotionally abusive father. However, her life did not improve after he went to prison Other Turning Points Indirectly Related to Father's Incarceration Three additional themes emerged, although with less frequency, that indicated points in time when subjects' lives changed dramatically. These turning points generally were not immediate effects of the incarceration but were tangentially 193

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related to the fathers' imprisonment. Additional turning points included a new father figure, effects of not being told the truth about the father's incarceration, the results of the reunification with the father after his release from prison, and a wake-up call from the realization that following in the father's footstep was all too easy. New Father Figure The father's incarceration led to changes in family relationships for many of the respondents who had lived with their fathers prior to arrest and imprisonment. While the majority had remained with their mothers, the mothers often had entered into new relationships with one or more male partners. Eight subjects reported stepfathers or longer-term relationships with new father figures after their fathers went to prison. The majority did not report a good relationship with their new father figures: six expressed highly negative views of their mothers' new partners while only two described the new father figure in positive or neutral terms. Table 5.16 Relationship with stepfather or new father figure (see Appendix B.6) Negative relationship Neutral or positive relationship Living Males Females Total Males Females Total Arrangement n=20 n=5 n=25 n=20 n=5 n=25 Institution 317 0/0 317 017 010 017 Homeless shelter 2/5 0/3 2/8 015 0/3 0/8 Living on own or 1/5 010 1/5 0/5 0/0 015 with other, struggling College campus 0/1 0/1 0/2 0/1 III 1/2 Living on own or 0/2 0/1 0/3 1/2 0/1 1/3 with other, doin_g_ well Total 6/20 0/5 6/25 1/20 1/5 2/25 194

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In general, subjects described high levels of conflict with their mothers' new partners: My stepdad, he was way worse, way worse, [than my father] ... He didn't do anything the whole time he was with her, he mooched the whole time He was a fucking bum ... and he beat her up, you know, he would sit there and accuse her of cheating when she would be working, and he was cheating on her. It was like, it was like he had some type of personality disorder or something. He'd beat us up and beat up my mom, and he raped my mom, and he'd sell our furniture for drugs but he didn't let us do any of 'em and we'd get in trouble for stupid shit like that. He was into crack cocaine, and .. phew, yeah that was fucked up. It was my trip to Hell. (Ian, age 18) My stepdad didn't like us, he never liked us. So he'd kick us out when my mom left [for work]. In the winter time, she'd come home and us kids would be sitting out there in the dead of winter until she got home. Up in the mountains there. Because my stepdad would not let us come inside. There was one time when we were staying in a motel for a week or so and my stepdad kicked me out of the room, and there was a guy who was like "come on, come in here." He sexually abused me. I was about 11. That was a really bad time. That was when I started, after I got molested, I started getting really belligerent. I had to, that's how I stayed in control. I was like "You can't tell me what to do." Everyone else had control over my life. (Joe, age 21) My mom had divorced [my dad] and all of a sudden I had a new daddy. What an asshole .. He was a real pain in the ass. He didn't like my brother and me at all. He was always telling us what to do. I think he wished my mom would just get rid ofus ... My mom had started drinking a lot more after my dad left. And this asshole didn't help. He was a drunk. That seemed to be what him and my mom had in common. Getting drunk. And fighting ... They'd yell and scream at each other ... They were mainly fighting about money or about me and my brother. (Trevor, age 23) My mom found another guy after my dad went to prison. He was pretty violent. And he was a drunk. But he didn't do any drugs. And he didn't beat up on us kids. Just mainly my mom. (Keith, age 42) 195

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One male subject described his frustration with the negative influence of the new man in his mother's life: My mom was doing good at [a residential treatment facility]. And that's were she met my step-dad. A recovering drug addict. They get out, and go straight to drugs. So it's, like, horrible. I was just so mad because they'd put me in a group home [while my mom was in treatment]. And then she gets out and goes right back to drugs with this guy. I wanted to go home but they wouldn't let me because of my mom so I started running away [from placement]. I mean, I've always been a runner. But every time I would run, I would always go home. I wouldn't go nowhere else. I would run to my mom's house. Every time. And I've been in about 10 placements, and every time I ran. No matter what, I'd always run home. That's were I wanted to be. Or where I thought I should be. I didn't feel right in these places. (David, age 20) Another respondent described the increased residential instability created by his mother's new male partner: We did a lot of moving because either my stepdad had too many enemies where we were at and we need to get the fuck out of there or because my stepdad was selling too much shit and the police might be looking for him. Every time we moved, it was drug related, I think. (Ian, age 18) Only one respondent described a positive relationship with the new man in her mother's life: He was so good with me. He automatically became one of my best friends. He'd take me everywhere with him and I was so accepting of him. I was too young to have understood the romantic implications. He was actually an ex-con, too, but he was just so warm and great to us. But my brother had a much more difficult time accepting that he was going to be around. But little me, I was just like "Okay, I love everybody" ... He was there for most ofthe time my dad was gone. I could recognize how he made things better for my mom. But then he 196

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got sick and died. And things just went downhill after that. (Allison, age 18) Study participants who reported a negative new father figure were all doing poorly. Five of the six were later placed in foster care or residential treatment facilities. All were either in jail or were associated with the homeless shelter. The two respondents who described their new father figures in either neutral or positive terms were both doing well. Lies and Truth about Dad Three respondents, all males, had not been told the truth about their father' imprisonment. In two of these cases, the father's incarceration had been completely hidden from the subjects. The other respondent knew his father had been arrested, but was not told that the reason for the arrest had been the sexual molestation of his stepsister: We didn't know that he was arrested for about a week We always used to go to my grandmother's after school and when we got to her house she just told us we were staying there that night. And we kept asking why, me and my brother. And we were asking where my stepsister was. They didn't tell us, and then in the middle of the night, when we were asleep, they came pounding on the door. The police came, they took us away, and brought us to a foster home. My grandmother was crying hysterically. We kept saying "Gram, what's happening? Why are we getting taken away? Why are we getting arrested?" We weren't getting arrested, but it felt like that. And we were so young that I really didn't know what was going on. They took my brother and me to different foster homes. My grandmother got custody of us after a week or so. When we got back to her house, that's when she told us that he'd been arrested, but she didn't tell us why. After that, things went down the drain for me. And my brother, too. It was basically just chaos. I started going deeper, deeper, deeper 197

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into a depression. Thinking that it was more mine and my brother's fault. Cause we didn't know, truly, that it was my stepsister. I didn't really even know whathe was tried and convicted for. I just knew he was arrested. I just knew it had to do with us boys and my stepsister. I thought it was something I did, something like my father beating me up. And I thought it was my fault. Because I had told on him several times. (Kenneth age 19) One respondent's account was unique. His biological father had gone to prison when he was a baby and his mother had remarried when he was very young. His stepfather had raised him as his son. After his biological father's release from prison, his mother had left his stepfather and had reunited with her ex-husband The reunification with his biological father had been a significant turning point in his life: It was really a shock. Especially when I was 10 years old. And all of a sudden your mom and dad are getting a divorce. And then you find out he wasn't your dad and this other guy over here is. I always considered my stepdad to be my dad. I still do ... You know, I was doing really good before that, did good in school. I was in advanced classes. I was a good kid. And when my mom and dad, my stepdad split up, everything just went to hell And my biological father, I don't know if it was just me or him, but we can't stand each other. We just can't stand each other. So after a while they shipped me back to my stepdad. I still thought my home was with my stepdad. But by then I was starting to get in all kinds of trouble. My stepdad was a great guy, but he worked at night and that's when I'd go sneaking out. And I was skipping school and I was truant. My stepdad didn't know what to do with me so he sent me back to my mom and dad. And after that, they just kept sending me back and forth. (Jack, age 26) Another unusual case involved a study participant whose father had been arrested for a high-profile violent crime when the respondent was five years old. In order to protect him from the knowledge of the crime, his mother had arranged for 198

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him to temporarily live with his grandparents out of state. Learning the truth about his father was a life-changing event: I didn't know my dad was in prison. I didn't know what he'd done. My mom protected me from knowing were he was. I just thought he'd moved away to another state and that he didn't have much money. He called me every week and I'd hear a lot of noise in the background. I just assumed he was calling from a YMCA -I heard guys in the background and I knew he was calling from a pay phone. He used to write me letters and my mom would take them out of the envelope before giving them to me so I wouldn't know they were from a prison. I was 11 when my mom finally told me the truth. She talked to a therapist who told her it was time to tell me the truth and then she had my dad write me a letter telling me his story. I was really upset to find out what he'd done and that he was going to be spending the rest of his life in prison. I couldn't believe that my mom had lied to me all those years. It was really painful to find out the truth. I'd always had this idea that my dad was a good person. The schools push the idea that people in prison are evil-that they're horrible people. The idea of my dad in prison just didn;tjive with the picture I had in my head of who my dad was. When I finally saw him at that first visit [in prison], I realized that it had all been a lie, and that the details had been filled in by me. I'd created a fantasy picture of the life my father was leading. It was really hard to find out the way I did and it changed my life, but I'm glad I didn't know when I was younger-I think my life would have been more difficult had I known. I think it would have affected how I viewed my whole family-you know, my mom loved a criminal, my grandparents raised a criminal. And I got to know and respect him through the phone calls and letters before I knew what he'd done. But it still was hard because I had to reexamine what I took to be reality. (James, age 24) Two of these subjects were doing poorly. Only the respondent who had not been told that his father was iri prison was doing well. However, after he learned the truth about his father, he struggled with accepting the fact that his father was going to spend the rest of his life in prison. Although he was doing well at the time of the 199

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interview, he, too, had experienced substance abuse problems and involvement with the justice system. However, his mother, his incarcerated father, and extended family members had helped him through difficult times during his teens and early adult life. Reunification with Father Reunification with the father after the completion of the prison sentence was a difficult time in the lives of several of the study participants. Although several respondents reunified with their fathers after they reached adulthood, those whose fathers returned to the family home while they were children were in the minority. Only eight ofthe twenty-five study participants reported that they had lived with the father after his release from prison. Only one reported that the family remained intact after reunification. Those whose fathers had returned home described difficulties after the reunification, often related to the changed nature of family relationships or the return to problems that had existed prior to the incarceration. Separation and divorce after reunification and the father's return to prison were common among those who attempted to reunify. However, not all reunifications resulted in turning points. Two respondents, one male and one female, lived with fathers convicted of sexual assault on a child after their release from prison and both described being sexual assault victims of their fathers after their reunification. While both of their fathers had returned to prison for sexually abusing other children, neither of these 200

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subjects had been officially identified as a victim of the father and neither had received help for their victimization. The female sexual abuse victim, who had lived with her stepmother while her father was in prison, described the divorce and living arrangements after her father's release from prison: So I was staying with my stepmom while my dad was in prison. And then he came home. And then they got the divorce and then I was all tore up because I'd just finally started to get along with my little [half]sister ... And my stepmom told me that we were leaving. And I'm like "Where we going?" And she was like, "Well, we're not leaving. You and your dad are." And it was horrible. I was doing good in school, up until the divorce. And then, it was just like I was just trying to get by after that. 'Cause that's when the abuse on me happened. He had just got out of prison for doing it to my friend. When it happened to her I thought she was lying and everything like that. And then when I went to live with him, he was doing it to me, too ... My family knew about it but they told me to keep it quiet. 'Cause he'd been told that if he did it one more time he was going for good. And so they told me basically to keep it quiet about him ... And I was upset because when that happened with my daddy and I was like, "Well, I bet if it happened with any one of the other kids in the family, that something probably would have happened." ... I ended up moving to live with my aunt.. .and I became promiscuous. I had sex with one of my first cousins. And you know, it wasn't only my dad [who molested me], I had other cousins, a boy and a girl cousin, also who had sex with me. After that, I was like, well you know, all these family members keep on doing this, so maybe it's okay. And so I had sex with one of my first cousins. You know, I kind of didn't see him as family 'cause I didn't grow up with these people. These people were strangers to me. And so I did it, and it turns out that my little brother was also having sex with this same cousin. But when they found out, I was the one who got sent away [to a treatment facility for sex offenders). (Nicole, age 18) 201

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The male sex assault victim had moved in with his recently released father to avoid the violent home of his mother and stepfather: I was living with my dad when he molested me [after he was released from prison for assaulting another child]. [After that], he went back to prison for molesting another kid. I moved back to live with my [physically abusive] mom and stepfather. Things just kept getting worse. In middle school, I got suspended a bunch of times for fighting. I just got tired of it all. Tired of my mom always hitting me. Tired of doing bad in school. And then I got in trouble ... The charges were sexual assault on a child .. .I was arrested and sent to a treatment center for sex offenders. But I got negatively discharged from there because of my anger. Then I got put in another sex offender treatment program .. .It was pretty helpful, but now I'm a registered sex offender. (John, age 18) For some families, reunification meant a return to other old patterns of violence and substance abuse: She was just waiting for my dad ... He was fairly decent [when he got back]. But he started right back in drinking again. And the beatings. The same old thing, all over again. (Keith, age 42) I personally contributed to the downfall after he came home. I was 12 but I was already way past normal rebellion ... One night, he'd been home for awhile, my mom was visiting her parents with my brother and sister. But one night when my dad was passed out, I [did the damage]. They didn't know for sure what happened, but then it became clear that I was completely responsible for everything, they put me in juvenile foster care. My mom said she didn't feel safe with two criminals in the house. That she'd already spent six years waiting on another criminal. (B.J., age 22) Although one respondent was anxious for her father to return to the family, the reunification was extremely difficult for all members of the family. That's when the shit hit the fan. That was the hardest part of it all. Is when he got out. My dad came back to the house and he wanted to 202

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stay with my mom and make things work, but at that point, she just couldn't be with him and have a relationship with him like she used to. And I think that my father lived with us for about a year until their divorce was finalized and he moved out. But that year was probably hardest of it all. Because they would scream at each other. .. just the tensions were so high, because my mom was so hurt and my dad was still really angry at that point. He hadn't fully forgiven himself for what he had done. He just wanted my mom to accept him and take him back. And she couldn't do that. And I remember there was one night in particular. I can't even remember what they were in conflict about, but my dad was just crying and screaming. And my mom was just standing in the kitchen just shaking. And she went to the phone and she threatened to call the police on him. She was just shaking and holding the phone and she was like "I will call. I will call and send you back ... And my dad just like broke down and sank to the floor. And I'd never seen him so broken. Just so entirely dissolved. And it scared the shit out of me ... But that year was definitely the most intense. There were just some nights where I would go downstairs to say goodnight to my mom and she'd just be crying in her bedroom. And I couldn't knock on the door because I didn't want to disrupt her, so I'd just go upstairs and start crying myself. I just kind of kept my emotions to myself at that point. (Allison, age 18) All of the males who had reunited with their fathers were doing poorly: three were in jail and two were staying at the homeless shelter. None of the three male respondents who are doing well lived with the father after the incarceration. One of these fathers is serving a life sentence and the other two fathers, while they had sporadic contact with their sons after their release from prison, are heroin or polysubstance abusers who have repeatedly returned to prison or jail. Two of the females who reunited with their fathers have close father-daughter relationships. The third female is doing poorly as a homeless sexual abuse victim and perpetrator. 203

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Wake-Up Call : Following in Father s Footsteps Two male respondents both of whom currently have stable employment and no contact with the criminal justice system, told similar stories of personal involvement with the criminaljustice system that changed their lives: I was arrested and my mom let me sit in jail for a week. It was scary for me because I was afraid I was going to turn out just like my dad And no matter how much I yell and scream that I don't want to be like my father, I am my father's son. I have to be much more vigilant. I have to recognize when I do bad things and rectify them ... Staying in the county jail clarified things for me. I got a glimpse of how easy it would be for me to become my father. That was the start of my turning point . My dad was horribly disappointed when I was arrested. He was afraid that I was going to follow in his footsteps. He told me about a father-son inmate pair and said "Isn't that a Kodak moment?" He told me he was willing to spend the rest of his life in prison if it would keep me on the straight and narrow. (James, age 24) Things really started to fall apart. I started using a lot of weed and alcohol. I had a real problem with authority figures. I started getting in trouble. I was arrested a couple of times. But the most time I spent in jail was three days. The last time I was arrested, they took me to jail and there was this correctional officer there who took one look at me and said "Hey, are you Johnny and Dotty's son? You look just like them." And I do. I'm the spitting image of them. I thought "Oh my God, what am I doing?" Here I was trying to run away from who they were, and there I was in jail, recognized by somebody who has seen them so many times. I decided I better do something to change my life (Jeron, age 28) While contact with the criminal justice system was a turning point for these two subjects who were doing well similar contact did not serve as wake-up calls for the male subjects who were doing poorly. Fifteen of the seventeen males who were struggling provided accounts of extensive personal drug and/or alcohol abuse and 204

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criminal activity. Only two of the male respondents doing poorly reported no serious problems with drug or alcohol: one was in jail and the other was homeless. However, both reported extensive contact with the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Only one male respondent, a college student, reported that he had did not have serious problems with substance abuse and had never been arrested. While contact with the criminal justice system served as a deterrent for the two male subjects who were doing well, the more typical attitude for male respondents regarding arrest and incarceration was one of resignation and an acceptance of imprisonment as a part of life. Conclusion: Risk Factors and Turning Points Twenty of the twenty-five study participants reported turning points either directly or indirectly related to the incarceration of their fathers. The incarceration itself and the effects directly related to the incarceration were turning points for fourteen of the twenty-five respondents. Other events indirectly related to the incarceration, including the presence of a new father figure, deception around the father's incarceration, reunification with the father after release, and wake-up calls, emerged as turning points for six of the respondents who did not experience initial direct effects from the incarceration. However, no specific turning points during childhood appeared in the accounts of five of the subjects. Four of the these five study participants, three males and one female, were doing extremely poorly. All of these males had serious and persistent mental illness 205

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diagnoses, gang ties, and histories of serious polysubstance abuse. One was in jail and two were associated with the homeless shelter. All had been exposed to many risk factors during their childhoods and had lived chaotic and unstable lives. The one female who did notdescribe a turning point either related to or unrelated to her father's incarceration was also struggling, having grown up with a polysubstance abusing father who did not support her, a polysubstance abusing and mentally ill mother, and exposure to family violence and neglect. For these four respondents, the father's incarceration made little difference: their life trajectories predicted negative outcomes long before the father went to prison. The remaining male respondent, a college student who was doing exceptionally well, did not identify any events linked to his father's incarceration as a turning point and was the only study participant who spoke of the benefits he received from his father going to prison: I think my father being absent was a positive. Because I think if my dad wasn't gone as long as he was, I think more of his negative nature, his criminal behavior would have rubbed off on me. I think I would have taken a worse track that I did. He had the criminal mindset and I think if I'd been around him more, that I wouldn't have learned the difference between right and wrong. If I'd seen him bringing in money, doing his criminal stuff, showing us that this type of lifestyle is profitable, it would have been a bad thing for me. (Derek, age 21) While this respondent may be correct, that exposure to a deviant father is an important risk factor that leads to negative outcomes for the children of incarcerated fathers, especially for sons, none of the other subjects spoke of a benefit from their 206

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fathers going to prison. For most of the study participants, the absence of the father was not viewed as an event that changed their lives in a positive direction. For those subjects who had a financial or emotional dependence on the father, most described the incarceration of the father as a turning point that placed them on a uncertain and difficult new life path. 207

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CHAPTER6 INTERPRETATION: PERCEPTION OF THE FATHER Not all study participants had current relationships with their fathers at the time of the interview. Three male subjects had fathers who were deceased; fourteen respondents, eleven males and three females, had little or no contact with their fathers; six males had regular contact with fathers who were in prison at the time of the interview; and two females had regular contact with fathers who were not in pnson. Few of the respondents described fathers who would be categorized by conventional standards as good fathers. Some study participants described fathers who not only would be identified as poor fathers by others, but who were also viewed by their children as extremely negative influences in their lives. However, many subjects described their fathers, many of whom also had negative qualities, in positive terms. View of the Father from the Child's Perspective The following analysis of study participants' views of their fathers divides the fathers into two categories: those who are viewed positively by their children and those who are viewed negatively. Fifteen subjects, thirteen male and two females, spoke of their fathers in generally positive terms. Twelve subjects spoke of the 208

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fathers in positive terms almost exclusively and were classified as viewing their fathers positively. Three male respondents described their fathers in mixed terms. Two of the three described fathers who were violent and both were victims of physical child abuse at the hands of their fathers, yet they both spoke of their fathers' positive qualities and justified the abuse they experienced as the result of their fathers' alcoholism. The father of the third subject who described his father in mixed terms was also violent and suffered from a severe mental illness as well as substance addictions. This subject spoke of his father in positive terms and explained his father's negative behaviors as the result of his mental illness. The three subjects who spoke positively of their fathers and who provided justifications for their fathers' behaviors were classified as viewing their fathers positively. Table 6.1 Subject views of the father and current outcomes (see Appendix B.8) Positive view of father Negative view of father Living Males Females Total Males Females Total Arrangement n=20 n=5 n=25 n=20 n=5 n=25 Institution 4/7 0/0 4/7 3/7 010 3/7 Homeless shelter 3/5 0/3 3/8 2/5 3/3 5/8 Living on own or with 515 0/0 515 0/5 0/0 0/5 other, struggling College campus 0/1 111 112 1/1 0/1 1/2 Living on own or with 1/2 1/1 2/5 112 0/1 1/3 other, doing well Total 13/20 2/5 15/25 7/20 3/5 10/25 Ten of the study participants, seven males and three females, described their fathers in negative terms only. Four of the male subjects were direct victims oftheir fathers: three were victims of severe physical child abuse and one was a victim of 209

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sexual abuse. However, unlike the subjects that offered justification for their fathers' behaviors, these subjects placed the entire blame for their victimization on their fathers. Two of the males who viewed their fathers negatively and who were not victims of their fathers' violence described their abandonment by their fathers as the result of the fathers' decision to choose drugs over their children. The remaining male respondent who described his father in negative terms did not know his father prior to the father's release from prison. He viewed his biological father as responsible for the breakup of the marriage between his mother and stepfather, the only father he had known. The three females who viewed their fathers negatively were all victims of physical or sexual abuse at the hands of their fathers. Characteristics of Fathers Viewed Positively Several of the study participants, primarily males, viewed time spent playing sports and engaging in outdoor activities with their fathers as examples of positive paternal characteristics: Oh, our relationship was good. He was a really good dad. He used to take us up in the mountains and go fishing and four-wheeling and snowmobiling. [After his arrest], all that was gone. After he went to prison, he would write us letters. The phone calls were too expensive, so we only talked to him on special occasions birthdays, holidays, that sort of thing. But he was really good about writing us letters. He'd talk about all the things we were going to do when he got out of prison. Go camping, fishing, up in the mountains. For a long time I really thought everything was going to be okay when he got out (Trevor, age 23) My dad was really great. He'd take us fishing, take us boating, take us for rides on his motorcycle. He had a boat and all these cars and a 210

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bunch ofHarleys. We didn't do anything like that after he went to prison. My mom, all she did was work. (Craig, age 23) I don't have a lot of real clear memories of my father before he went to prison. It's kind of like a montage of images. A couple I remember really clearly one time eating breakfast with him and another time building a balsa wood plane. It's almost surreal when I look at pictures from when I was a kid-it's like looking at someone else's life. The one real clear memory I have of my dad is a weekend fishing trip he took me on right before he went to prison. But I always felt like he was really good to me. (James, age 24) My dad really encouraged my brother and me to play sports. He wanted us to be better, to be the best. And he always tried to be at our games. When he was hustling, he would get us the best gloves, the best bats. He took time to be with us. He did a lot of things with us. (Nina, age 24) Three male subjects described exposure to high levels of paternal substance abuse or violence, yet they still expressed high regard for some, if not all, of the characteristics of their fathers. The father's good characteristics were in conflict with the negative ones associated with the father's substance abuse. Two of these subjects spoke of their fathers with mixed tenninology, highlighting their fathers' positive aspects, associated with traditional father-son activities, and negative aspects, associated with substance abuse: He was very violent. And he was an alcoholic. Which was what caused his violence. But he was the one that taught me how to play baseball. Basically, he was a really good father when he wasn't drinking. He taught me how to do carpentry work. A lot of stuff. He took me fishing on my birthday, every year. It was just a father-son day out, on my birthday. (Kenneth, age 19) He was all right when he wasn't drinking. He was friendly, he took us out fishing and stufflike that, when he wasn't drinking. It was kind of 211

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\ like he was two different people. He was a good dad when he was sober but we were all afraid of him when he was drinking. (Keith, age 42) One respondent, who has maintained a close relationship with both her mother and father, described a view of her father that did not change with his incarceration: When we visited him, I just wanted to show him that I was okay. Because I didn't want him to hurt for me. I had to tell him that his family still loved him and that his family still cared about him. And that he was still a part of us and that we were still able to love him and accept him. I felt that so strongly towards him. He was never a bad guy to me, never. I never felt betrayed or even left, because he made the effort to stay in contact with us. And I never wanted to be angry and I never wanted to have those hurtful feelings toward him. I think, in some ways, it made my mom see how much I wanted to have my dad in my life. And it made her really make the effort to keep him a part of us. And I really respect her for that. (Allison, age 18) Many of the fathers of respondents had attempted to provide financially for their families. Twenty of the twenty-five study participants described their fathers as helping provide financial support. Although the fathers' contributions to their families were often through illegal as well as legal means, most of the subjects recognized their fathers' efforts to support them and acknowledged the challenges they faced when their fathers were not available. For two respondents, the presence of the father meant having enough to eat: [My dad] always seem to be able to take care of his habit and his kids. He was always able to have money, no matter what we needed, he'd always find a way to get it for us. I really admired my dad. When he was out of jail, he always did what he could to help. We always had food and stuff like that. (David, age 20) 212

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My dad was the best auto repair guy around. He made good money. When he was around we always had what we needed. We always had food. (Brian, age 19) Several of the study participants who viewed their fathers positively spoke of the lessons their fathers attempted to teach them: My father is one ofthe smartest people I know. It is good to know that I can rely on his advice as good and accurate. He is a strong moral compass. I talk to my dad on the phone [in prison] almost every week. It's the highlight of my week. I can bounce anything off of him-he's an excellent moral compass. He's never steered me wrong. (James, age 24) My dad always made sure that we saw my mom when we were with him. He wanted to make sure that we knew that family was everything. I really respect him for that. (Brian, age 19) So at this point in my life, I've got two dope cases. To add insult to injury, I've also got two criminal impersonations, two criminal forgeries-I'd written some bad checks. Well, I'm running and I go home, and my dad is out of prison. And I go to my dad, and I say "Dad, I'm in trouble. I've got these dope cases." My dad tells me "I'm sorry. It was bullshit. It was all bullshit. Everything I taught you." How he taught me to steal. How he let me smoke marijuana. He said "Man, I pray for you every night. You need to turn your life over to Christ." And he said "I love you." That was the first time, the first time. I was thirty years old and that was the first time. He'd never told me before that he loved me. He said "I love you. But you got to be a man. You got to go back. And you got to do what's right, and it'll be alright." (J.D., age 45) However, some of the fathers who tried to give good advice were not able to set good examples for their children: [My dad] talked to us a lot. He tried to teach us right from wrong He tried to be a good father. He just got distracted by other things to where he couldn't be a good father. He tried, but he just got caught up with the wrong people. (Elias, age 26) 213

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When I was a kid, he wrote me probably about twice a month. And when I started getting in with the wrong crowd, my dad, having been a teenager himself, tried to give me all kinds of advice. Like "I can't really tell you what to do, but I want to advise you to watch out for what you get yourself into." And I didn't really heed his caution because of the things that he did. I kind of figured at that time that a hypocrite has no right to tell me how I should live my life. So I thought I'd just figure things out on my own and I'd be fine. But I wasn't. I know now that he was trying to be a father, as best he could. (Aaron, age 22) Subjects who viewed their fathers positively also learned antisocial behaviors from their fathers: "When I was like 7 or 8, I had this bike. And one day it was gone. I thought it was stolen. But my dad had this kid who was 4 or 5 years older than me take it. He told me that this kid had it. And I was supposed to go get it back. And I had to fight him to get it back. He was a lot bigger than me, but I kicked his ass. My dad taught me to fight. He taught me to be a man." (Brian, age 19) My dad had a real bad [heroin] habit, but he never stole from people. Never robbed anybody, or anything like that. He was more of a shoplifter. I mean, I heard a lot of stories about him, and not to brag about him, but, you know, he was my dad. But just the way he used to do things, it shows that if he had that kind of motivation to do good in life, he would have went far. (David, age 20) A few subjects stated that their fathers now feel remorse for not being good fathers to them when they were growing up: My dad now says he wished he could have stayed out of prison for his kids. He wishes that he had been able to help me when I was a kid. I guess spending time in prison has helped him get his head clear, or something. But I wish I could have lived my whole life with my family instead of with people who didn't understand me I mean, growing up is hard enough, but when I was growing up, I always wanted to know more about where I came from and what my 214

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background was. I wanted to know more about my family. I wanted to know why my family was different. (Robert, age 20) While the majority of study participants had positive views of their fathers, they did not necessarily view them as good fathers. Those who viewed their fathers positively often expressed the feeling that although their fathers were deeply flawed, they were still worthy of their children's love. One respondent described his view of his mentally ill, violent, and drug-addicted father: He had a massive heart attack. He was expected to die within a week or two, but he's still alive He was in the hospital and my uncle and aunt told us, "We're going to let you talk to him, you can say whatever you want, because it's his last days." So I called him up and I said "Hey, dad, how are you doing? This is Vinnie, your son." And I called him every day. And he'd say "I've been waiting for your phone call son He was actually calling me "son." And like hearing that from him, I'd never heard that from him. And him telling me "I love you, son." That really, really made me break down. My sister called him once, my brother called him once And they kept on telling me "Why do you keep on calling him." And I kept on telling them, "Well, he's my father and he s dying." And they said "Look what he's done to us, look what he's done to you, he doesn't deserve it." And I said "Yes, he does." I think that he deserves it, even though he's done all those bad things. I mean, everybody needs to be forgiven. (Vinnie, age 18) Despite the hardships their fathers' attitudes and behaviors created for study participants, the majority viewed their fathers as worthy of some level of love and admiration. Providing financial support, nurturing, playing with the child, and communicating with the child, traditional behaviors that identify good fathers, emerged as themes in the accounts of subjects who viewed their fathers positively. 215

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However, almost all of these subjects described fathers who also embodied antisocial attitudes and behaviors such as substance abuse, criminality, and/or violence. Characteristics of Fathers Viewed Negatively Study participants clearly articulated the characteristics their fathers displayed that met the criteria they used to identify their fathers as poor fathers. Those who viewed their fathers negatively did not make any positive statements about them. While substance abuse was a common theme for both those respondents who viewed their fathers positively and those who viewed them negatively, those who viewed their fathers negatively expressed their beliefs that their fathers placed their needs and desires above the needs of their children. I was about 12 when my parents got out of prison. I just didn't want to have anything to do with them. I mean, they weren't really my parents. I can't begin to tell you what it was like to not have parents. There was just so much I missed out on. I was especially mad at my father. I used to think that it was his fault that they were heroin addicts. (Derek, age 21) You know, I've always been pushed aside, my whole life. So that wasn't anything major to me. And it wasn't just my dad who pushed me aside. It was everybody. I was always being pushed aside for somebody else, or for some drugs, or just something. I was considered a burden on everybody because I couldn't get myself together. I never had a normal structure long enough to get on my feet. I ended up having to live with my father again after I was hurt bad in a car accident. I had nowhere else to go. But I would have been better off being homeless because it wouldn't have beaten me down as much. My dad lets all these other people, tramps and stuff, stay with him, but he kicked me out, his own son. I'm here in jail now for assault. On my dad. For doing what he usually does to me. (Joe, age 21) 216

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I can't really tell you what that was like to not really have a dad. It's something I really can't describe. The dad is supposed to be the leader in the house. I mean, he's supposed to teach you things that your mom can't teach you. My dad never hit me, but he never taught me anything. I was pretty much left to do what I wanted. All he ever taught me was how to cook crack. (Dewan, age 21) I never really had a good relationship with my dad at all. Cause he was never really there. I never got along with him because he would always choose his girlfriends over his kids. And it was a big problem for me. And it was something I couldn't deal with. So he just kind of shut himself out to me. He just shut himself out. (Nikky, age 19) Another common theme that identified poor fathering was child abuse directed toward the respondent. My dad, he slapped me and did things like that [when I was younger] but when I got older, it was like he started to do things to embarrass me. He would hit me in public and stuff like that, to humiliate me in public because he knew that I didn't like that. And that was always one of my biggest problems. He would sit there and he would hit me in public, or if I was with a group of my friends and they'd be sitting right there, he'd hit me right there in front of my friends. (Nikky, age 19) I didn't want to go back to [where they live], because my father's a pedophile. I told him I forgave him, but I still don't want to see him yet. When I was in [a residential treatment facility] I was calling them every month. To check up and see how they were doing, especially my little sister. When my little sister turned twelve, that's when I started getting real paranoid because that was around the age my dad did that to me. And so I was all worried. I know he's not supposed to be around her, but I keep wondering where he is. Is he visiting her? Is my [step]mom there while he's there? (Nicole, age 18) While engaging in father-child sports or outdoor activities was proof of positive paternal characteristics for some respondents, one respondent viewed his 217

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father's unwillingness to spend time with him engaging in father-son activities as proof that he was not a good father: It was like he never really did anything with me. You know, how most fathers, they take their kids to go play catch or something like that. They just mess around and be boys. But me and him, we never did that. And then when I was playing basketball, he'd never be there for any games. And I was like "What the hell, there's no point in trying harder." So I guess that's why I never really put much effort into sports is because I was like "I'm doing all this work for what? Nothing. I can't show off or anything." It was like my uncles, they were always there for their kids' football games and stuff like that. But my dad was never there. (John, age 18) Several respondents described attempting to reach out to their fathers with whom they had poor relationships, only to be disappointed for their efforts: He's been absent so much of my life, he doesn't know anything about the memories I have. It is kind of hard to say I want to have a relationship with him. What would I speak to him about? What can I do, ask him how he made beer in prison? How I am supposed to have a conversation with someone who has been in prison so much of my life. Because we have nothing in common. I mean this last phone call I had with him, we probably talked about two hours. And an hour and a half of it was all about the experiences he had in prison. All the fights he saw, all the different parole officers he's had, one person that he did like, and at one point, I just wanted to say "I don't give a shit. I don't care what you have to say because it's not making any difference in my life right now." I wanted to talk to him because I hadn't talked to him in something like six years. So I got the number for the halfway house and I called him there. But we just didn't have anything in common. (Derek, age 21) I think the last time I talked to him was like a month ago and that was for three minutes on the phone. That was like three minutes for six years-the length of time I was in foster care because of him That's not an even trade-off We've always been on really bad terms. We're still on bad terms. One time I talked to him on the phone and it was 218

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clear he'd completely forgotten who I was. It took him a while to realize it was me. (B.J., age 23) I always feel that it's really a waste of time to sit here and write letters and do all this stuff cause he usually doesn't respond back and when he does, he'll sit there and make all these promises and never follow through with them. So you know, it's kind of hard once you've been lied to all your life. I'd always give him just one last chance and it never would really work. He always says "I'm going to change this time. And I'm not going to go back there." But he always ends up back in the same spot. And it never fails. (Nikky, age 19) When I was 21, I remember trying to reach out to him. He'd just gotten out of prison again. I really hated him, but I wanted to get past that. So I called him on the phone. But it was such a superficial conversation. We talked for an hour and a half and didn't say a damn thing. All we talked about was sports. There was a game on TV, and that's what we talked about. Before we hung up, he said he would call me back. I gave him my phone number, but he never called back. (Jeron, age 28) Many of the respondents spoke of wishing that they had been able to have a "normal" father-child relationship: At this point in my life, my dad has been absent for so much of it, that it would be hard to be close. I mean, my fiance, she speaks to her dad, really her stepfather, her biological father has been absent all her life, too, but she speaks to her stepfather maybe once or twice a day. He's been there since she was 8 months old, so he's her real dad and she speaks to him all the time. And I wish I had that kind of relationship with my dad. (Derek, age 21) He's been a convict all his life. And I'm ashamed of that. It's like "Why can't you be a lawyer, why can't you be something." And when somebody asks me about my father, I can't say nothing. When I was a little kid, because of where we lived, dads were in jail, in prison, because it was normal. But [later], being in an all-white high school, it was like "Oh, my dad's a doctor," "My dad's a lawyer," "My mom's a reporter." What the hell am I going to say? My mom's on welfare 219

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and my daddy's in prison and my grandma's just trying to stay alive? (Victory, age 18) Unlike the subjects who viewed their fathers positively, those who described their fathers in only negative terms stressed the antisocial nature of their fathers. The themes of financial support and nurturing and playing with their children were absent from these subjects' accounts. Almost all of these subjects described fathers who abused substances, engaged in criminal activity, and/or who were violent. Their portrayals of their fathers provide an image of men who were distant, often violent, and who placed their own needs and desires before the needs and interests of their children. View of the Father and Risk Factors Study participants were exposed to varying levels of risk factors. Some were exposed to almost all, many were exposed to various combinations, and some exposed to few. Identifying the exposure to various risk factors provides insight into how respondents viewed their fathers. Paternal Substance Abuse Only two study participants, both males, had not been exposed to paternal substance abuse. An additional male subject had been exposed not to a substanceabusing incarcerated father but rather to a substance-abusing step-father. The remaining twenty-two respondents, seventeen males and five females, all had been exposed to an incarcerated father who also abused at least one substance. 220

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Table 6.2 Exposure to risk factors and view of father Positive view of father Negative view of father Risk factors Males Females Total Males Females Total n=20 n=S n=25 n=20 n=S n=25 Paternal substance 11/17 2/5 13/22 6/17 3/5 9/22 abuse Maternal substance 10114 2/4 12/18 4/14 2/4 6/18 abuse Physical or sexual 417 0/3 4/10 317 3/3 6/10 abuse by father Mother battering by 516 113 619 116 2/3 3/9 father Mentally ill father 4/4 0/0 4/4 0/4 0/0 0/4 Mentally ill mother 112 0/2 114 112 2/2 3/4 Residential instability 5/6 1/3 6/9 1/6 2/3 3/9 before incarceration Residential instability 10/14 114 11/18 4/14 3/4 7/18 after incarceration Multiple paternal 8/12 114 9/16 4/12 3/4 7/16 incarcerations Criminal activity by 7/10 114 8/14 3/10 3/4 6/14 father Witnessing arrest 8/9 1/1 9/10 1/9 0/1 1/10 Child protective 7/12 0/1 7/13 5/12 111 6/13 services Eleven of the seventeen male subjects who had been exposed to a substanceabusing incarcerated father described their fathers in generally positive terms. Seven of these fathers had been polysubstance abusers, one had been a cocaine addict, one had been a violent alcoholic, one had been a heroin addict, and one had been a crack cocaine addict. The six male respondents who viewed their substance-abusing fathers negatively had fathers who had similar substance abuse problems: four had been polysubstance abusers, one had been a violent alcoholic, and one had been a heroin 221

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addict. However, these study participants had other reasons to dislike their fathers. Two had been abandoned by their fathers, three had been child abuse victims of their fathers, and one had been severely neglected by his father. All of the females had been exposed to fathers with substance abuse problems. Two of the females viewed their fathers positively. Both of these fathers had been polysubstance abusers, but, from the daughters' perspective, both of these men had qualities that made them good fathers. The remaining three female subjects all have very negative views of their polysubstance-abusing or crack cocaine-addicted fathers. All had also been victims of serious physical abuse, sexual abuse, and/or neglect by their fathers. The only discernable pattern to emerge regarding exposure to paternal substance was a gender difference. Given the small number of females in the sample, gender difference may be attributable to the unique characteristics of the female subjects. However, the males in this sample viewed their substance-abusing fathers more positively than did female subjects. They were also more willing to attribute their fathers' negative behaviors to the substance abuse while the females blamed the their fathers for the substance abuse that created many of the problems they had with their fathers. Maternal Substance Abuse Eighteen of the study participants, fourteen males and four females, had been exposed to maternal substance abuse. Ten of the males with substance-abusing 222

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mothers viewed their fathers positively. Four of these subjects had mothers addicted to heroin or crack cocaine. Their fathers had helped to care for the mothers as well as the children. The remainder of the mothers, while identified as having significant substance abuse problems, were not identified as needing caregivers. Four of five female subjects had mothers with substance abuse problems: one was an alcoholic mother who did not start drinking heavily until after the father was sent to prison but was able to provide for her children; one was a crack cocaine addict who severely neglected her children; one was a mentally and physically ill mother for whom the subject was a caregiver; and the fourth was a drug-addicted mentally ill mother who also required the help of her daughter. The two subjects who viewed their fathers negatively had not received any help from their crack-addicted fathers in caring for their mothers. These two respondents, in addition to one who viewed her father positively, had assumed the role of caregivers for their younger siblings and their drug-addicted or mentally ill mothers. While a gender difference again emerged between males and females whose mothers abused substances, the differences between the males and females may be more effectively explained by the role the father played in these families. Those fathers who were described astaking care of the mothers who were not able to care for themselves were viewed positively. Those who left the care for similar mothers to the children were viewed negatively. 223

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Child Abuse Four of the male subjects who viewed their fathers positively described incidents of child abuse by their fathers. Two of these subjects described the fathers as abusive only when they were drinking. The other two, while they described beatings that left bruises and other marks that indicate child abuse, did not seem to view the punishments they received at the hands of their fathers as anything beyond normal punishment. The three male respondents who described child abuse and who viewed their fathers negatively were victims of either extreme child abuse or sexual abuse. One of the respondents reported that his father had been incarcerated after severely injuring him when he was a child. All of the females who described being victims of child abuse viewed their fathers negatively. One was a victim of sexual abuse and two were victims of physical child abuse by both their fathers and mothers or mother figures. The level and nature of the child abuse reported in this sample appears to dictate how the subject viewed the father. The males, in general, were more willing than the females to forgive their fathers and to justify and normalize the physical abuse, unless it was extreme. The victims of sexual abuse did not want to have any contact with their fathers and also blamed him for their own crimes: both were not only victims of sexual abuse but were also sex offenders. 224

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Mother Battering by Father While eleven study participants, eight males and three females, reported witnessing the abuse of their mothers or mother figures, not all of the mothers were abused by the fathers: two males subjects reported the abuse of their mothers by stepfathers Both ofthese subjects held extremely negative views of their stepfathers. Nine of the subjects reported mother battering by their fathers. Five of the six males who reported witnessing their fathers abusing their mothers viewed their fathers positively. Two of these subjects attributed the abuse of the mother to the fathers alcoholism while the other three who viewed their fathers positively described the abuse of the mother in matter-of-fact tones and did not appear to view the abuse of the mother as outside the norm. The one male who reported abuse of the mother and who had a negative view of his father also the victim of severe child abuse by his father. The female respondent who reported mother battery but who viewed her father positively was not a victim of serious child abuse by her father while the two females who viewed their fathers negatively were both themselves victims of physical abuse at the hands of their fathers. Mother battering, similar to child abuse, was more acceptable for male subjects than it was for female subjects. The same normalization and justification used to excuse child abuse were used to excuse mother battering for male subjects. None of the females normalized or justified the father s abuse of the mother, although one subject who witnessed the abuse of her mother still viewed her father positively. 225

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Those who witnessed mother battering and viewed the fathers negatively were also victims of the father. Mentally fll Parents All of the subjects who reported mentally ill father were males and all also viewed their fathers positively. Two of the fathers were identified as suffering from depression. One of these sons did not have a significant amount of contact with his father when the symptoms of depression were not controlled by medication. One had lived with his father before his incarceration, but the father's depression did not appear to significantly affect the father-son relationship. The other two male subjects with mentally ill fathers both also suffered from the same mental illnesses as their fathers and sympathized with their fathers: one was diagnosed with schizophrenia and the other with bipolar disorder. Two males and two females reported that their mothers had mental health diagnoses. Only one of these subjects viewed his father positively: he had helped care for the subject and his siblings when the crack-addicted mentally ill mother was not able to care for her children. The other three respondents all viewed their fathers negatively. The male subject, like his mother, had been the victim of abuse by the father and the two females had been left by their fathers to care for their mothers. Residential Instability Five of the six male subjects who reported residential instability prior to their fathers' incarceration had positive views of their fathers. Four of these five subjects 226

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reported fathers who had attempted to help care for their children, although they often had not been able to significantly contribute financially to the support of their children because of mental health problems or heroin or crack cocaine addiction. The fifth male respondent who viewed his father positively identified his fathers' serious mental illness as the reason he could not help care for his children. Only one male respondent who experienced residential instability prior to his fathers incarceration expressed a negative view of his father. He described severe neglect by both of his polysubstance-abusing parents and he had been passed around to multiple caregivers throughout his life Two of the female respondents who experienced residential instability before the father's incarceration viewed their fathers negatively. Both had lived in extremely unstable households and the fathers had not acts as a stabilizing force. The third female respondent who viewed her father positively provided an interesting account: she thought that everyone who had Section 8 vouchers was supposed to move each year at the end of the lease. Her family moved at least once a year, requiring her to change schools. However, she considered residential instability as normal and not especially disruptive. Attempts by the father to help care for the children, even in the highly unstable families in this sample, is linked to how these subjects viewed their fathers. Those subjects who saw fathers who attempting to help, despite having severe substance abuse problems themselves, viewed their fathers positively. That the father 227

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was not able to sufficiently provide for the family to prevent residential instability did not matter. It was the effort to contribute that made the difference. Residential instability increased dramatically after the fathers' incarceration for nine additional respondents, eight males and one female. Six of these male subjects viewed their fathers positively. Four of these six males reported losing their homes as the result of the loss of the fathers income The fifth could not care for his younger siblings and his crack cocaine-addicted mother after his father who had taken care of the mother was incarcerated. The sixth male subject who viewed his father positively was mentally ill and was placed in a residential treatment facility shortly after his fathers incarceration. The remaining two male subjects and the female subject who experienced residential instability after but not before their fathers incarceration all viewed their fathers negatively. The female subject lived with and was victimized by her sexually abusive father prior to his incarceration was moved around to other family members until she was placed in a treatment facility for sex offenders after she too sexually abused a younger child. Both of the male subjects were victims of their fathers: one was a victim of sexual abuse while the other a victim of extreme physical abuse Providing for the children and, if necessary helping to care for the mother was linked to how the fathers were perceived. The children of fathers who were able to provide a home for their families generally expressed high regard for their fathers, unless they were victims of the fathers. Those who viewed their fathers positively 228

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and who lost their homes as a result of the fathers' incarceration were also extremely angry with the criminal justice system. Multiple Paternal Incarcerations and Paternal Criminal Activity Sixteen study participants, twelve males and four females, reported fathers who had been incarcerated more than once. Many stated that their fathers had been regularly in and out of jail or prison. Eight of the males and one of the female respondents held positive views of their fathers. With the exception of one male respondent with a mentally ill father, all of the respondents who experienced multiple paternal incarcerations identified their fathers as men who had helped to financially support their children when they were not incarcerated. Seven of the study participants, four males and three females, held negative views of their fathers who were repeatedly incarcerated. Two of the males had been abandoned by their fathers, one was the victim of severe physical abuse and the other the victim of severe neglect. All three of these females were victims of their fathers. The willingness to help support the family, despite multiple incarcerations, was again linked to how the subjects viewed their fathers. Those who engaged in criminal behavior but whose earnings from illegal sources helped support the family were held in high regard. The source of the income did not matter. What mattered was that the father had demonstrated his commitment to his family by providing support whenever he was able. 229

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Witnessing the Arrest Ten of the study participants, nine males and one female, reported being present at the arrest of their fathers. All but one of these subjects reported positive views of their fathers. All of these subjects had been living with and had been financially dependent on their fathers at the time of the arrest. The only respondent who did not have a positive view of his father was a male who had lived with his father but had been severely neglected by him. The males who viewed their fathers positively and who had witnessed the arrest all spoke of the arrest as their initial contact with the criminal justice system. This contact set the tone for their future contact with criminal justice personnel. For I these eight subjects, the police are the enemy who took away their fathers and made their lives much worse. Child Protective Services Involvement Child protective services was involved with the families of thirteen of the twenty-five study participants. Four of the subjects, all males, were involved with child protective services prior to their fathers' incarceration. Two of the male participants were placed in foster care after being born to heroin and crack cocaineaddicted mothers. One was adopted by his grandmother and the other was adopted by strangers. One viewed his father negatively and the other positively. One male respondent who had little contact with his father was placed in a residential treatment facility after being diagnosed with a serious mental illness. He viewed his father 230

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positively. Another male subject had been in foster care placement but was returned to his mother prior to his father's incarceration. After his father was sent to prison, his mother had been unable to care for him and his sibling and they were again placed in foster care. Prior to his incarceration, his father had helped to care for both the siblings and the mother and was held in high regard. The remaining nine respondents, eight males and one female, became involved with child protective services after their fathers went to prison. Four of these male respondents viewed their fathers positively. All had lived with their fathers prior to the incarceration. Two were placed in foster care because their drug addicted mothers had not been able to care for them and two had been placed in residential treatment facilities for acting-out behaviors. Four of the male subjects involved with child protective services had negative views of their fathers. All had been victims of some form of paternal sexual or physical abuse or severe neglect. The only female who had been involved with child protective services was also a victim of her father. However, her involvement with child protective services came after she was identified as a juvenile sex offender. For those male subjects who had lived with and viewed their fathers positively, child protective services was described as yet another system that tears families apart. While some of these male subjects were victims of child abuse or neglect by their fathers, unless they viewed themselves as victims of the father, they expressed contempt for the systems that were supposed to help them. Those who 231

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viewed their fathers negatively were either abandoned by their fathers or considered themselves to be victims of their fathers. They generally did not display the same level of contempt for child protective services as those who viewed their fathers positively. Conclusion: View of the Father and Risk Factors Exposure to risk factors alone does not appear to be linked to how the father was viewed by study participants. Some subjects were exposed to paternal substance abuse, maternal substance abuse, mentally ill parents, residential instability either before or after the incarceration or both, multiple paternal incarcerations, and criminal activity, and still viewed their fathers positively. The only consistent predictor for a negative view of the father was severe physical child abuse, sexual abuse, or severe neglect. Other than exposure to serious child abuse, including neglect and abandonment, none of the other risk factors was linked to a negative view of the father. For male subjects, having a father who contributed to the family and helped care for a mentally ill or drug-addicted mother was linked to a positive view of the father. The drug-addicted mother appears to be linked to extremely poor outcomes for males: several of these families, although extremely troubled and highly unstable prior to the fathers' imprisonment, were able to stay together until the father was sent to prison, at which time child protective services took custody of the children. The only male in this group who did not view his father positively was a victim of his 232

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father. The rest of the males in these families generally held their fathers in high regard. All felt that their fathers had tried to be good fathers. Residential instability after the fathers' incarceration was also linked to positive views of the fathers, especially for those male subjects who either lost relatively stable homes or who had mothers who could not care for them after the fathers went to prison. These subjects lost their homes and/or their families as well as their fathers. Criminal activity and multiple paternal incarcerations did not appear to lessen the positive view of the fathers for many of the male subjects and all except one subject who witnessed the arrest of their fathers viewed them positively. A financial and emotional dependence on the fathers was apparent in almost all of the males who viewed their fathers positively. The three male subjects who were not financially and/or emotionally dependent on their fathers prior to incarceration and who viewed them positively had spent little time with their fathers. While they had contact with their fathers, they had not been faced with living with an actual father, but, rather, had created good fathers in their imaginations. Perception of the Father and Prison as a Turning Point Fourteen of the twenty-five study participants, eleven males and three females, described events surrounding their fathers' arrest and incarceration as negative turning points in their lives. Twelve of the fourteen respondents who viewed their fathers' arrest and incarceration as significantly changing their lives also described their fathers in positive terms. Despite their fathers many flaws, these 233

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respondents described both emotional and financial reliance upon their fathers. The lone male who described his father's incarceration as a turning point but who viewed him negatively, lived with but was severely neglected by his father The only female who described the incarceration of her father as a turning point yet who viewed him negatively lived with her abusive father. Despite their exposure to highly antisocial and abusive fathers prior to the incarceration, both of these respondents described their lives as becoming worse after their fathers' incarceration. Table 6.3 Subject views of the father and prison as a turning point (see Appendix B.8) Positive view of father Negative view of father Males Females Total Males Females Total n=20 n=5 n=25 n=20 n=5 n=25 Prison as a turning 10/11 2/3 12/14 1/11 113 2/14 point Prison not a turning 3/9 0/2 3/11 6/9 2/2 8/11 point Total 13/20 2/5 15/25 7/20 3/5 10/25 The imprisonment of the father was not a turning point for eleven of the study participants. Only three of these subjects, all males, viewed their fathers in a positive light. None of these respondents three grew up with nor did they have regular exposure to their fathers. One thought his father lived in another state and was not aware he was in prison when he was a child; one was adopted and wanted to reunite with his father from and early age; and one had limited contact with his mentally ill father. 234

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Six of the nine males and both of the females who did not describe their fathers' imprisonment as turning points viewed their fathers negatively. Three males and both females lived with and were abused by their fathers. The remaining three males who viewed the fathers negatively and who did not describe the incarceration as turning points had various reasons to dislike their fathers: two described their fathers as caring little about their children and one blamed the breakup of his conventional home on his father. It is not surprising that subjects who lived with their fathers and who were financially dependent upon them would view the incarceration as a turning point. However, an unanticipated finding was that almost all of the males who viewed the incarceration as a turning point also viewed their fathers, many of whom had serious substance abuse problems and were criminally active and/or violent, in positive terms. Financial dependence upon a father does not mean that the father is necessarily viewed positively, as demonstrated by the negative perceptions of those who were financially dependent upon but who were also severely abused by their fathers. However, fathers who were viewed positively were often absent and, while they contributed financially to the support of the family, many of these families did not have fathers who were necessarily dependable. That so many of these male subjects viewed the father positively while viewing the incarceration as a turning point suggests that the perception of the father may depend on more than just financial support. While severe child abuse may have 235

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been sufficient to cause the subjects to view their fathers negatively, perhaps a lack of abuse and some level of commitment to the family was enough to earn the respect of the sons in this sample. These fathers may not have needed to provide all that is considered necessary by conventional society to support and care for a child. It also may not have mattered to the male subjects how their fathers provided support. As long the financial support was accompanied by an occasional ballgame or fishing trip, it was apparent to these sons that their fathers made an effort to care for their families. View of the Father and Subject Current Outcomes Twelve of the seventeen males who were struggling viewed their fathers positively: all five of the males who were living on their own, four of the seven who were in institutions, and three of the five males who were staying at the homeless shelter. Only one of the three males doing well viewed his father in a positive light. Both of the females who were doing well viewed their fathers positively. Table 6.4 Subject views of the father and current outcomes Positive view of father Negative view of father Living Males Females Total Males Females Total Arrangement n=20 n=5 n=25 n=20 n=5 n=25 Institution 4/7 0/0 4/7 3/7 010 3/7 Homeless shelter 3/5 0/3 3/8 2/5 3/3 5/8 Living on own or with 515 0/0 5/5 0/) 010 0/5 other, struggling College campus 0/1 1/1 112 111 0/1 112 Living on own or with 'li 1/1 2/5 112 0/1 1/3 other, doing well Total 13/20 2/5 15/25 7/20 3/5 10/25 236

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Five of the seventeen males who were doing poorly had negative views of their fathers. Two of the three who were doing well shared a dislike for their fathers. None of the females staying at the shelter viewed the fathers positively. Ten of the twenty male study participants both lived with their fathers prior to incarceration and had positive views of their fathers. All of these ten subjects had extensive contact with their antisocial fathers and none was doing well. Seven of the nine subjects who witnessed the arrest of their fathers were also in this group. Although almost all of these subjects had been exposed to some form of family violence at the hands of their fathers all viewed their fathers father positively. All of these male respondents had lengthy histories of extensive drug use that included polysubstance, crack cocaine, and methamphetamine abuse. Only one male in this group did not have an extensive history of criminal behaviors: six of the ten had distributed drugs, three were assaultive, four were thieves, and one was a sex offender. However, the one male who did not have a history of criminal activity had struggled with polysubstance abuse that included heroin, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, and severe alcohol abuse since he was in his early teens. His mother died from drug-related causes and his father was also a polysubstance abuse. All of these male subjects were following in their fathers' footsteps. Four of the male subjects who had lived with their fathers prior to the incarceration had negative views of their fathers. All in this group were child abuse victims of their fathers. They, too, had extensive contact with their antisocial fathers, 237

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but, unlike those subjects who were doing poorly but who viewed their fathers positively, they did not use their fathers' substance abuse to excuse the abusive behaviors. However, all were following in their fathers' footsteps: the child of a sex offender was himself a sex offender, the child of a violent father was incarcerated for assault, and the child of a drug dealer learned how to make and sell drugs from his father. The fourth subject, although he was the only study participant who did not disclose the nature ofthe father's crime, was also in jail. Table 6.5 Male subject views of the father, living situation prior to prison, and current outcomes Lived with Lived with Did not Did not and and live with live with positive negative and and view view positive negative VIeW VIeW Living Males Males Males Males Arrangement n=20 n=20 n=20 n=20 Institution 417 2/7 017 1/7 Homeless shelter 2/5 2/5 115 0/5 Living on own or with other, 4/5 0/5 115 0/5 struggling College campus 0/1 0/1 0/1 111 Living on own or with other, 0/2 0/2 112 112 doing well Total 10/20 4/5 3/25 3/20 Three of the male subjects did not live with their fathers prior to the incarceration yet held positive views of their fathers. Two of these subjects were doing poorly and were staying at the homeless shelter. Both suffered from severe mental illnesses. Although they had little direct contact with their fathers while they 238

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were growing up, they both held idealized views of their fathers. The remaining subject who did not live with his father but viewed him positively also was not directly exposed to his father during his childhood. While he remained in regular contact with his father via telephone calls and letters, he did not know his father was incarcerated until he was an adolescent. He admitted to visualizing his father as conventional and caring father prior to the disclosure of the truth. The vision of his father that was formed during his childhood remained, even after he learned the truth of his father's crime. Three of the male subjects did not live with their fathers prior to the incarceration and held negative views of their fathers. Two of these subjects were doing well while one was in jail. The subject who was doing poorly was not exposed to his father's criminality during his childhood but was exposed when he lived with him as an adolescent. Although he viewed his father negatively and described the reunion with his father as a negative turning point, he learned to be a car thief from his father. The remaining two male subjects who did not live with their fathers prior to the incarceration viewed them negatively. Neither was exposed to their fathers' criminal activities and both viewed themselves as abandoned by fathers who chose drugs over their children. The exposure to antisocial fathers is linked to negative outcomes for the male subjects in this sample. All of the subjects who grew up with and admired their fathers followed in the father's footsteps. Those who grew up with and were victims 239

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of their fathers also behaved similarly to their fathers. Some of those who were not directly exposed to their fathers' antisocial behaviors created visions of what they wanted their fathers to be. None of the three male subjects who were doing well lived with or were extensively exposed to their antisocial fathers during their childhoods: one created a fantasy of who his father was and the other two viewed their fathers through eyes that saw not only the antisocial nature of their fathers but also perceived none of the characteristics of loving and caring fathers. The few females study participants in this sample were very different in some ways from their male counterparts. The female subjects who were victims of child abuse at their fathers' hands did not excuse their fathers' behavior. Like their male counterparts, they viewed their fathers negatively and were doing poorly. However, the two female subjects who were doing well were very different from their successful male counterparts. Both of these young women, while living with and directly exposed to their antisocial fathers, described warm and loving fathers. The loss of the father was a traumatic event in both of their lives but both continued to have very positive father-daughter relationships despite the disruption in their lives brought on by the fathers' incarceration. Assigning Blame As Carlson and Cervera (1992) noted, when family members can externalize the blame from a member within the family to someone or something outside the family, that member's status within the family can be preserved. Subjects who 240

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viewed their fathers positively frequently referred to the criminal justice and child protective services systems in critical terms and assigned much of the blame of what happened to their families on these systems rather than on their fathers: It's made me a hard-headed kid. I mean if my dad would have been there, maybe things would have been different. Maybe my mom and dad would have still been drug addicts. But we'll never know how things could have been. Because they [the criminal justice system] took his life They never really gave him a chance. When they did give him a chance, yeah he did mess up. But, I mean, at least give them a couple of chances The last three months when I was with him [before he died], it was like the best time. And if I could have had that my whole life maybe things could have been a whole lot different I've been in jail and just from the people that have come in there it seems like everybody in there has a kid Just from my first-hand experience a lot of the guys that are in there, don't need to go to prison. They need help. (David, age 20) Maybe if they put me in foster care that day when they took him away and I got into a good home, this shit might not have happened the way it happened. I mean, he was the last person who was good to me until I got into my gang. And now I pretty much go by their rules. I don't blame my father for the patterns in my life but I think that if he could have been there to help me out, maybe my life might have been different. But I don't blame him for all this shit that has happened to me. A lot of it was my fault, in a way. My choices are my choices. So I can t blame him for that. But I don't feel like I ever had a chance (Ian, age 18) What would have helped my family was if he just didn t go to prison. Ifhe'djust gotten help for his alcoholism. It gave us a relief to not have him there [because he was violent when he drank]. But if he'd just gotten help to quit drinking, I think something like that would have helped. Cause after he went to prison my mom had to work all the time and we were alone a lot. If there had just been somebody else around to take the time to keep us from getting into trouble. We were just raising ourselves. (Keith, age 42) 241

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I just don't know why they have to lock people up so far from their families. I mean, you can't really be a dad in a visiting room. It was bad enough when he was in [a state prison], but then they sent him off to [out of state]. I just don't understand why they have to lock up non-violent offenders like they do. Especially the ones who have kids. Why can't they be in prison Monday through Friday, and come home on the weekends? Why can't they do that? Too much paperwork? I don't know. I think I could have dealt with that a lot better than just having him totally gone. (Craig, age 23) After my dad went to prison, DSS really fucked up my family. My mom couldn't take care of us and my dad's brother wanted to adopt me, but they wouldn't let him. They just let me rot in foster care. My grandma died and no one even told me. They ruined my whole family. (Brian, age 19) If my dad had gotten treatment from the beginning, I think it would have helped. I mean, after my dad got out of prison, he was a better dad. He did those parenting classes in prison and it really made a difference. I should thank the system for making him who he is today, but who's to say that he wouldn't have been able to do that years before without having to go to prison. And it's so messed up. He's tried so hard for so many years, but his past just keeps coming back to haunt him. (Nina, age 24) Subjects who viewed their fathers negatively blamed their fathers for their actions. They expressed anger at the way their fathers placed their needs above the needs of their children: My mom and dad went to prison together. I was seven years old. They used to send me letters when they were in prison. It was like getting letters from strangers they didn't mean anything to me. I'd been living with my grandmother from the time I was a baby and I'd just see them when they came by. I just didn't want to have anything to do with them. I mean, they weren't really my parents. They didn't act like parents. I can't begin to tell you what it was like to not have parents. There was just so much I missed out on. And I was really angry at them. I was especially mad at my father. I used to think that it was his fault that they were like they were. But now I realize that it 242

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was my mom who was weaker. When they relapsed, it was my mom who would relapse first, and then right after that, my father would start using again. (Jeron, age 28) When I was young, it was like he was in jail so many times, it got to the point that I finally turned 12 and I just I couldn't cry any more. Cause he's been in and out so many times. He's never really been there in my life, anyway .. So before I turned 12, I used to always cry when he was in jail, but after that I was just like, "I can't really cry any more, cause he's been there, I mean, he's not going to change." (Nikky, age 19) Others who viewed their fathers negatively also frequently blamed child protective services for not helping them when they most needed it: When my mom and stepdad were abusing me, the police and Social Services always came to talk to me and ask me what was happening. But nothing every came of it. I was telling them that my mom was always abusive and she drank. And that my stepdad would hit my mom and us kids But it just got me in more trouble because when the Social Services people talked to my mom, she'd just sit there and lie. And they'd believe her and not me. And I don't know, it's kind of degrading It's just basically saying "You're a fucking liar." And it makes you scared, it makes you not want to go and tell anybody about your problems. It makes you just want to ball everything up inside and when you do that, you just get yourself into more trouble. Cause when you just ball it up yourself, all your anger, all your fear, and everything else, you get yourself into trouble. (John, age 18) I think after all that happened, all that stuff with my dad [when he sexually abused me], if I would have got Social Services help earlier it would have helped. Because I needed to talk about it then, but I didn't get that until I was 17. And by then I was like "I've come this far and I've dealt with this. I don't need those people." I mean I had to just deal with it. And it's been tough. (Nicole, age 18) I'm pretty much angry all the time. It don't really show, but I'm pretty muchjust seething inside. I'm really pissed off at the world cause I think the world owes me something. I think the state owes me something. They took away my whole youth. The judge never took a 243

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look at everything that had happened to me. If he had he would have said "No wonder he just knocked the hell out of the whole staff." It's like they don't want to give me a chance for nothing. I try and I try and I try. I don't know what the hell I keep stepping in to make me slip. I think my dad and my mom owe me something because I think I would have never started acting up if they would have never gone to prison. I feel like I'm living in my own purgatory. I feel like I'm already dead and in hell. (Dewan, age 21) I finally got some help after all those years. I was in a very, very good treatment facility. They helped me realize who I am and just because I lived that life it doesn't mean that I have to continue to live like I've been living. They helped me realize that because my dad was abusing me all the time when I was a little kid, my body freaks out. It's like I don't have any control. If anybody comes at me, I freak out and attack. But they helped me understand how to control it. I wish I'd gotten that kind ofhelp a long time ago. (Joe, age 21) One respondent, describing his involvement with multiple governmental systems, sees involvement in these systems as a trap from which there is no escape: And it just came to the point where I was like "Okay, I'm stuck with nothing, and you guys won't help me." That's why there's a lot of guys in jail. I mean, what do we have? We ask for help and what are they going to give us? Nothing. And what do we have? Drugs. I can't get a real job, I can't afford anything, I can't eat. So I sell drugs. And ifl get caught, I'm in here. It's like being stuck in the system. Once you're in the system, you're stuck. I've lived pretty much my whole life in all sorts of institutions. Foster care, shelters, because we were hiding from my dad because he was stalking my mom. I been in shelters, correctional facilities, treatment facilities. I mean, the way I looked at it, if I was going to be abused, I figured I may as well be high. I know all these people in this jail, I know all the kids in here, I know all the adults in here. It's just the way oflife, you know. If you're stuck in the lower class, you're stuck there. There's no one to help you. If you're middle class, you can get all the help you need. But once you're really down enough that you really need that help, you're on your own. (Joe, age 21) 244

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In general, those who viewed their fathers negatively placed much of the blame for their current situation on their fathers. However, few of those who were struggling blamed their current circumstances entirely on their fathers. While the fathers' actions may have started the chain of events that led to negative outcomes for their children, subjects who were struggling were also sharply critical of governmental systems that are supposed to protect and correct. Looking to the Future The future for the study participants who were doing poorly looks bleak. Almost all of the males are facing serious substance abuse problems, more than half of them already have mental health diagnoses, almost all of them have histories of criminal behavior, almost all have spent time in institutions, and none have qualifications that make them attractive candidates for employment that provides a living wage. The females who are struggling, while not burdened with the same level of substance abuse and criminality as their male counterparts, also are facing many challenges and are not likely to find employment that allows them to be selfsufficient. Yet despite the numerous obstacles in their paths, many subjects who were struggling spoke of wanting to live conventional lives while expressing concern that they might not be able to do so: Like, I've never done [hard] drugs. Just by seeing the way it turned my whole family out. I mean, I've smoked marijuana and stuff like that, but needles scare me. And heroin, the smell of it gets me sick. But being around it all my life, I know how to sell drugs and stuff like that. I don't want to touch it now, but it's hard to put that knowledge 245

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into the back of my head. I want to be done with that part of my life it's not something that I can be proud of. I've got a full time-job now, but it would be so easy to just put the job down and go back to what I was doing before. But I don't want to do that. There was a lot of things I didn't get, and a lot of people think I can't be better because of that. But I want to be better than what everybody expects me to be. 'Cause I'm better than that. (David, age 20) I want to go to school. I eventually want to work in the medical field. I'd like to work with kids, but I'm afraid if I get too caught up and too far ahead ofmyselfl'll end up back on drugs and alcohol, again. It's an easy outlet, it is an easy way out. If anyone's ever been through what I've been through, it's an easy outlet, but it's a painful one at the same time. And if I'm alone and off my medication, I'm a little mentally unstable. But I've kind of come to terms with myself and I know that people have to make things happen for themselves. But it is still a struggle. (Aaron, age 22) [After I get out], I'll be on parole for two years. And I'm hoping this is my last time. Because now I've got a kid on the way. I need to stay out of trouble but I know it's going to be hard. Everybody wants background checks. And it doesn't matter what it's for. It could be a laborer. They want background checks. But the whole thing is, I need to find a job, and that's going to be the hardest part. Because for four months [the last time I was out], I was basically broke, I was trying to support myself and just couldn't do it. It doesn't matter that I took a graphic design course in prison and that my teacher thought I was great. It doesn't matter what I've done, it's just that big F for felony, prison, you know. (Jack, age 26) When I get out of here [jail], I want to go to college. But I'm really worried about my little brother. He's just a little kid and the last time I saw him and my mom, she was doing real bad. When I was out last time, I tried to help her get an apartment and a job, but she went back to drugs. And I ended up getting sidetracked because of that and ended up back here. I know it's a problem for me to see her because of all the drugs, but I don't want my little brother to go through what I went through when I was a kid. (Elias, age 26) Suicide it's either get off drugs or suicide. That's pretty sad, but that a lot of what's happening. That's what a lot of us do. We just had 246

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somebody in here [the jail] kill himself because he didn't want to spend the rest of his life in prison. He kind of took the coward's way out, but it's better than being locked in a cage for the rest of your life. You have no way out, and no one to help you. It's something I've thought a lot about. I've dealt with major depression my whole life, you know, being abused, going to jail, doing drugs, going to my dad, he'd beat me up. I can't count on anybody. I've always been up shit creek without a paddle. I never had any options. My girlfriend is pregnant and she's in foster care right now. When I get out, I need to find a job so I can take care of my kid. I don't want to get back into drug dealing again. I've been trying to get all the help I can in here -I've been to every church meeting, every A.A, N.A. meeting in here, everything they have, to try to get help so I don't have to go back to dealing drugs. I'm trying to break the cycle. (Joe, age 21) Couldn't blame it on Daddy, couldn't blame it on Mama, couldn't blame it on society, couldn't blame it on none of that. I had to own it. I had to own it, if I was ever going to be a man. I had to own up to this. Even though my dad was in prison, even though he died, so what. It's raining, so what. Cause that's all we're looking for is a reason, an excuse. So I had to really own up to my own addictions and say "I need help. Take me in." And it was hard, but it was worth it. It was worth it. It was basically what I had to do. I'm at the point now where I can let go of all of it. I'm clean, I'm sober, and that's what's important. And I hope I can stay that way. But, it's been a hell of a ride. (J.D., age 45) I've taken pills and things like that [to try to kill myself]. Nothing really serious because it wasn't nothing to go to the hospital for or nothing like that. But the thing is, the only way I figure I would actually be dead is if I had a gun on me. Because I feel that I shouldn't have to suffer when I die, and I just want to go easy. So if I was to have a gun and shoot myself in the head, it would just be a clear shot. And I always felt that way when I was younger, I used to feel like that a lot. I'm still depressed a lot, but now I'm going to have a baby. But sometimes I'm really afraid, though. I think, well, I never really had a mother figure and what if I'm not a good mother figure. I think about that a lot. And it hurts me because I don't know what to do. And I sure aim to take a class on parenting, because I don't want my baby to suffer like I did-that's one of my biggest fears. And I'm going to have to do it on my own because right now I don't think there is 247

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anyone who cares. Nobody cares that I've been through so much all on my own. (Nikky, age 19) One respondent, a mentally-ill, homeless gang member, spoke of his desire to leave the gang and live a more conventional life: I don't know why, I want to do good, I always wanted to do good. Deep down inside I'm a good person. But I always want to show the worst side, for some reason. Maybe it's because I've had too many friends and too many people that have died or been sent to prison for the rest of their life or killed people. They're just on the wrong path. And when I was young, I wanted to be like that. But now that I'm older, I figure, you know, that's going to end you up two places, dead or in prison. And I want to do something with my life. I always had a dream, ever since I first started reading, I always wanted to write books. And I told my mom that and she just said "Follow your dreams, do good." But then I started seeing my Uncle Joe, my older brother, all the people around me that were older than me, all of them were in gangs. And I really thought it was cool, you know, I got friends who'll have my back, you know, protection. And now that I'm older, I think that it's stupid. Why kill someone over a color? Or over a 'hood, you know? And so I told them I wanted to quit. My OG was locked up at the time, but if he was there, he would have shot me. And when I told them I wanted to quit, they looked at me like "You dumb fool." And after that they disrespected me. But every time I go around there, I can still feel the tension. They don't associate with me no more for the fact that I'm trying to get into college right now. And in order to do that, I have to stop what I'm doing, to do what I want to do. And even though I'm trying to quit and everything, there's still going to be a time in my life when it's going to be bad, because once a Blood, always a Blood. (Vinnie, age 18) While many of the male respondents were struggling with drug or alcohol problems, all of the female participants, both those who were doing poorly and those doing well, stated that the effects of parental drug or alcohol problems had convinced them to avoid hard drug use themselves: 248

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I saw that doing drugs made me lose my mom and my dad, so to this day, I haven't touched cocaine. I've never done crack. I think the worst thing I've ever done was try marijuana. I do not smoke marijuana. I will not have it in my house. So part of me, I'm thankful for my dad going in and out and for my mom doing what she did, because I know what I'm not going to do to my kids. (Nina, age 24) I never understood why all my friends were doing it. It's almost offensive to me when people use it so regularly. And I'm like "Ugh, don't even get that near me. Oh my God, you're all so ignorant." I've seen the destruction of it. I mean, I've definitely smoked pot, but it's not something I find enjoyable or that I find comfort in. Some people just hide their lives behind marijuana. I've seen it time and time again, especially people my age and going to the high school I went to. But, you know, for me, marijuana was not for me. And, if anything, what drugs represent to me is just too painful. (Allison, age 18). I try not to be an angry person, I try so hard, but when my mother tells me I'm like my father, I'm like "You compare me to my father and it hurts. How could you be comparing me to my father? I'm not doing drugs, I'm not having sex. I've been to high school, graduated. That's something you guys never did, because you had me. So you should be proud." I'm not in jail, I'm trying to get my life together, but it's so hard I'm trying to break that chain, I'm trying to shine. But it's not easy. Because I don't want to be like my father and I don't want to be like my mother. I'm ashamed to say it, but I'm not proud of my parents. I don't like them, but I still love them. (Victory, age 18) While many of the study participants who were struggling were consumed by the challenges they were facing and did not have plans beyond the immediate future, several spoke of hoping to work with high-risk children like they once were: And I want to help other kids like me, because, you know, I remember at the beginning [when I finally did get help], saying, "You know, these people, they never been afraid. They can't help me, they don't know what I'm feeling, they can't feel my anger and my pain, so how can they help me?" You know, they just read books that tell them what to tell us, and so I'm like "I want somebody who knows what I'm 249

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talking about." I'm a person who grew up like that so I think I can help other kids. (Nicole, age 18) My poetry is what I do with my emotions. And, hopefully it will help out somebody in the future. 'Cause what I write is everyday life. About me growing up. I write about gangs, about violence. I want to help out people like me. 'Cause I know that when I was young, I'm still kind of young, I always wanted people to help me out. I always needed the help. So hopefully, if I write a book and people recommend it, hopefully it will help out somebody just like me. (Vinnie, age 18) I wanted to be a social worker, 'cause I've been to every place these kids are sent. And some person who doesn't really know what they are talking about, they can't help kids. If you've never been where I've been, you can't help that kid It's like somebody in AA trying to tell a methhead that this is what you got to do. It's like two totally different worlds. I mean, change comes from within yourself, but change also can come with a little boost, a little help. But I know that I can't get into social work with a felony, but I just want to do some kind of work with youth, that I can get paid for. Life has taken a toll on me. I'm 21 years old and I feel like I'm 50. I've been through more stuff than most 50 year-olds have been through. I mean, some of the people [who work with kids] may have a Ph.D., but I've got a streets degree. And that can help kids like me more than somebody with a Ph.D. (Dewan, age 21) What I've always wanted to do was to mentor young kids so that they don't end up like me. That is basically what I want to do. You know, when I was a kid, I wanted to be a teacher. I hated going to class, but I wanted to be a teacher. I really liked two classes, math and science. I hated reading and now I love reading. I've read so many books, it's hard to count. But every day I look in the papers under volunteers of all kinds, mentors, tutors, whatever. And I think, "I should be doing that." I always think to myself"! want to do that." But now I've got these felonies, so I don't suppose I'll be able to. (Jack, age 26) From the perspective of several of these respondents, the help they so desperately needed when they were young should have come from someone who 250

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truly understood their situation: someone who had lived a life similar to their own. However, based on their current life trajectories, it is unlikely that a turning point will materialize that will provide them with the opportunity to build a career in the helping professions. It is more likely that they will continue on their current paths, unable to break free from governmental systems and families that have served them so poorly in the past. The future for the five study participants who are currently doing well looks bright. The two male subjects who struggled with substance abuse and criminal involvement in the past have desisted from both for several years. Both are working and able to support themselves and are pursuing career paths with potential for advancement. The third male, a college student who was ready to graduate and start working in his chosen field, had a strong commitment to avoiding drugs and criminal behaviors. Although all described struggling with coming to terms with who their fathers were, all expressed optimism about what lies ahead and a determination to not follow in their fathers' footsteps. The two female respondents who were doing well also were optimistic about their futures. However, unlike the male subjects who were doing well despite who their fathers were, these young women both explained that they are who they are today because of what they were exposed to as children: What I find most interesting about my experience is how it has made me who I am. It's like I don't have to think about that traumatic time in my life, it's like I can embrace that, accept it, not feel guilty about 251

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the shitty situation I was in, but I can move on with that. Almost take it as a blessing. You know, I experienced that but it's made me a better person. And I honestly believe that. That it has made me who I am. I wasn't your typical kid I grew up way too young. And I knew what real pain felt like then. I know kids my age who still don't know what real pain feels like and so they create their own drama for themselves. And I feel like my life would be much more complicated now, had I not had that complication then and dealt with it. And a lot of people, when they find out, they re like "Oh, that must have been so hard for you." And I'm like "Yeah, it was. But, you know that's how it was, but I'm fine now." (Allison, age 18) I know I missed out on a lot of things, but it made me stronger. Cause that what my best friend tells me "You're so strong, ." And I'm like "No I'm not." I remember a girl saying "You're life must be so good because you are the best, kind-hearted person I've ever known And I'm like "If only you knew. If only you knew what I've gone through." Nobody knows It makes me mad when all of these people have these excuses "Oh, I've had this in my life." Because I have all this in my life. I don't want somebody to feel sorry for me I am who I am because of that. I've gone through more things than people twice my age, or even three times my age, have never had to go through. But it's made me a better person. And I don't know how I would have turned out if I didn t do it. So sometimes I'm thankful because I know more because I went through it. But it's a hard way to learn Everything I've done I've done for me, and it's going to be hopefully to help everyone else . Because if I could, I would take care of my parents Even after all they put me through. They're still my parents. They say your kids are going to love you no matter what you do and I do. (Nina age 24) All of the subjects who were doing well also spoke of concern for children who had experienced the exposure to substance abusing fathers involved with the criminal justice system. One described his passion for working with and helping children who are facing similar challenges: I work [in the criminal justice system] I also work part-time with high risk kids and mentor kids like me. I know that is why I was put 252

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on this earth-to work with kids like me. This has been my therapy. I know I still have a lot I need to deal with, the abandonment by my parents and my inability to have close relationships. I seem to have such a hard time connecting to people. I know I need to work on it, but right now, working with these kids is helping me a lot. I usually can't talk about my childhood, but there was this one kid who I was working with who was just like me both his parents were heroin addicts and he was living with his grandmother. I told him my story and we were both in tears (Jeron, age 28) The concern for children exposed to similar environments and the desire to help others like them emerged as a consistent theme in the majority of the accounts of all study participants, both those doing well and those struggling. Many stated that the reason they volunteered as a study participant was to provide outsiders who do not understand the challenges the children of incarcerated fathers face insight into their experiences. The view they held of their fathers did not matter. The majority subjects, both those who viewed their fathers positively and those who viewed them negatively, articulated a desire to raise awareness of what happens to the children of incarcerated fathers. Their expressed hope was that help will be provided for other children who will have to cope with the challenges of growing up in an environment that includes paternal incarceration. 253

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CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSION When one has not had a good father, one must create one. Friedrich Nietzsche In general, the fathers' incarceration led to changes in the study participants lives that did little to improve their situations. Those who were exposed to paternal substance abuse or violence generally continued to be exposed to substance abuse or violence and those whose fathers contributed financially to help support the family either lost their housing and entered a time of increased instability or watched their mothers struggle, and often fail, to support the family. For some, life seemed little changed by the event: their lives were on and continued on a downward spiral. Even those lucky few who are doing well and who were not directly affected by their fathers incarceration struggled. As one of these "lucky" respondents noted, "I can't begin to describe what it was like, how it affected me, to have parents like mine." The descriptions of fathers offered by the study respondents varied in terms of levels of antisocial behaviors. Many described fathers who engaged in high levels of substance abuse, violence, and criminality. While others described fathers who were less antisocial, all of these men were convicted of committing serious crimes and none fit the description of a conventional good father. Yet the majority of study 254

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participants held positive views of their fathers. Some of the highly antisocial fathers were described as poor fathers while others who exhibited similar characteristics were viewed as good fathers If outcomes for a child are merely the result of exposure to risk and protective factors, predicting who will succeed and who will fail would be straightforward. However, such predictions ignore the wide variability in life experiences and how children respond to them. Some children raised in prosocial environments reject the norms and values of conventional society while some raised in antisocial environments embrace prosocial values. In attempting to identify why certain people engage in deviant behaviors while others do not, we may be trying to identify something that is perhaps an intangible human element. Criminologists have long known there is no unifying theory that explains all antisocial behavior. We do know that children who are exposed to many risk factors and few protective factors are more likely to face many challenges in their lives. Whether or not paternal incarceration is merely one of many risk factors highly correlated to negative outcomes or whether there is something special about this event in a child's life will need to be determined through future research. However, the findings of the current study may provide some insight into areas to explore. The sample included twenty males, seventeen of whom were identified as doing poorly and three as doing well, and five females, three of whom were identified as doing poorly and two as doing well. As an exploratory study with a small sample 255

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size, results of this study cannot be generalized to the large population of children of incarcerated fathers. However, certain themes emerged from the data that may be common in this population. As was anticipated, exposures to risk factors identified in the literature were frequently described by study participants: With the exception of two respondents, all reported exposure to severe paternal substance abuse that frequently included heroin, crack cocaine, or polysubstance abuse. Almost three-quarters of the respondents described severe maternal substance abuse that frequently included heroin, crack cocaine, or polysubstance abuse. Almost three-quarters of the respondents described exposure to family violence in the form of mother battering or child abuse. One-third of the subjects reported a serious and persistent mental illness diagnosis for either the mother or father. Almost one-half of the subjects themselves reported their own mental health diagnoses. Over one-half of the study participants reported exposure to criminal activity, primarily by their fathers, when they were children. Almost two thirds stated that their fathers had prior incarcerations, generally frequent arrests and short-term stays in jail. Almost all who described exposure to criminal activity were exposed to drug distribution and/or manufacturing. 256

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Over two-thirds of the study participants reported living with their fathers prior to the arrest and incarceration. Over three-quarters stated that their fathers provided some level of financial contribution to help support the family, although in some cases the contribution was small. Both legal and illegal sources of income were identified, however, the incomes and contributions often were sporadic. Illegal income was reported to be primarily from drug distribution. One-third of the subjects reported high levels of residential instability prior to the incarceration that frequently included not only residential changes but caregiver changes as well. These highly unstable families generally had mentally ill and/or drug-addicted mothers and fathers who, if they were involved with the families, were not able to provide stability. The number of subjects reporting high levels of residential instability doubled after the fathers' incarceration. All of the subjects who reported high levels of residential instability prior to the fathers' incarceration continued to be unstable. Those who reported residential instability after the fathers' incarceration all lived with their fathers prior to the incarceration. The mothers frequently were not able to provide homes for their children due to drug addiction or mental illness. Over one-half of the study participants described the incarceration of the father as a point in time when their exposure to risk factors increased. The primary 257

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direct result was the loss of the fathers' income and increased residential instability. Other outcomes from the loss of the fathers' income and support included involvement with child protective services, placement in foster care, and separation from the mother and siblings. How the subjects viewed their fathers appeared to depend upon two factors: severe child abuse and contribution by the father of financial and/or emotional support for the family. All of the subjects who were victims of severe child abuse, extreme neglect, or sexual abuse by the fathers described their fathers in extremely negative terms. All of the fathers who provided support for the families were described in positive terms, except by those subjects who were direct victims of their fathers. A few male subjects described their fathers' violence directed at family members but justified the violence by blaming it on the fathers' substance abuse. None of the female subjects justified the fathers' violence. The financial or emotional contribution to the family by the father did not need to be significant in order for some subjects to view their fathers positively. Sporadic financial contributions, helping to care for a mentally-ill or drug-addicted mother, and occasionally playing with their children appeared to be sufficient evidence to these subjects that their fathers were trying to be good fathers. Although many of these fathers were criminally active and their children were aware that the financial contributions were from illegal sources, as long as the father attempted to 258

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help support the family, his positive characteristics were emphasized and his negative characteristics were downplayed. One event that held specific significance for several male participants was witnessing the arrest of the father. Those subjects who lived with the father, who had an emotional attachment to the father, and who were not victims of the father described the arrest and handcuffing of their fathers as an event that represented not only the moment when their lives were turned upside down, but also as the point in time when they learned to detest the police. All of these subjects were following in their fathers' footsteps and had been institutionalized, had serious substance abuse problems, and were criminally active. The combination of a father who provided financial and emotional support and a mentally-ill and/or drug addicted mother resulted in extremely negative outcomes for male study partiCipants. Children in these families became caregivers for siblings as well as mothers after the fathers went to prison and all were placed in foster care and subsequently placed in residential treatment facilities for their acting out behaviors All blamed the criminal justice system and child protective services for the destruction of their families. Although separated for many years from their families, the ties remained strong and all either reunited with their fathers and other family members as soon as they emancipated from child protective services or had plans to do so after the father s release from prison. 259

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Suggestions for Future Research While it is unlikely that methods will be devised for identifying children of incarcerated fathers who are doing well, it would be useful to continue trying to recruit study participants from this largely invisible population. The number subjects in the current study who are doing well is extremely small, but the differences between those who are doing well and those who are struggling is noticeable, especially for male subjects. None of the male study participants who were doing well had extensive exposure to their antisocial fathers while all of the male subjects who had direct contact with their antisocial fathers have followed in their fathers' footsteps. It is impossible to know whether or not these subjects would have experienced similar outcomes if their fathers had merely been antisocial but had not also been incarcerated. However, from the perspective of many ofthese subjects, their downward spiral started the moment their fathers were no longer able to financially or emotionally support their children. The current research raises some interesting questions. Are male children who accept an antisocial father and make excuses for his many flaws more likely to follow in his footsteps? Are male children who blame the father for his own problems more likely to conform to the rules of society? Does the gender of the child matter? Does the child's view of the antisocial father matter in terms of a life trajectory? What role does the exposure to risk and protective factors play in how an antisocial father is viewed? And, perhaps most importantly, if the incarceration of the 260

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father is a turning point in a child's life, is there anything that can be done that would change the new life trajectory for the better? Additional exploratory research should be conducted with this population. While other researchers are likely to also encounter significant problems with identifying children of incarcerated fathers who are living conventional lives, much more work can be done with female subjects and males who are more easily identified. My sample did not include any females who were incarcerated, but based on my respondents' reports of how many of their female siblings were doing, substance abuse problems and involvement in the criminal justice system were common. Even respondents who were living conventional lives reported siblings who were struggling, which they attributed to the attitudes of their siblings, the multiple risk factors they faced, the antisocial father, or his incarceration One of the issues that future researchers are likely to see is parental methamphetamine addiction. Although few of the study participants reported parental methamphetamine abuse, several subjects reported their own addiction to methamphetamine. Given the current high levels of abuse ofthis drug, future researchers may find a larger representation of parental abuse of this drug. The effects of parental methamphetamine addiction, especially if children are also exposed to the manufacturing of methamphetamine, may be especially damaging. Causal research that isolates the effects of paternal incarceration might be conducted with incarcerated populations, with the understanding that the effects of 261

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paternal incarceration for this population may be very different than that for others who share this experience. Two areas of particular interest might be identifying the effects of witnessing of the father's arrest and the involvement of child protective services. Based on this small and unrepresentative sample, these two factors appear to be linked to high levels of antisocial attitudes and subsequent behaviors. Conclusion Given the nature of the sample for the current study, these children of incarcerated parents were generally living adult lives that included substance abuse, institutionalization, mental illness, undereducation, unemployment, and/or criminality. Few had realistic prospects for change from their current life trajectories. While it is impossible to say that the incarceration of the father contributed to these negative outcomes, many in this small group viewed the imprisonment of their fathers as a primary reason their lives evolved as they did. Others blamed their fathers' attitudes and behaviors rather than the incarceration for their negative outcomes. The incarceration of the father might be just one of many risk factors to which these children are exposed. However, if future research confirms the initial findings in the current study, paternal incarceration might potentially serve as an identifier for children who may be at especially high risk for following in their fathers' footsteps, especially males who live with their incarcerated fathers before the imprisonment or children who remain with mothers who suffer from mental illness or drug addiction. When considered in strictly economic terms, the children of incarcerated fathers are 262

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likely at extremely high risk for becoming burdens to society. When considered in hwnan costs, the children of incarcerated fathers may be members of a population that are at especially high risk for living marginalized lives without the opportunity to fulfill the dream of a better life. From either perspective, some of these long-ignored children may need help to free them from the cycle of intergenerational incarceration. 263

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APPENDIX A: CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS DAD'S IN PRISON: A STUDY OF THE LIVES OF THE CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED FATHERS I am a Ph.D. student in Public Affairs at the University of Colorado at Denver. My dissertation topic concerns what happens to children when their fathers go to prison. I am conducting in-depth interviews with adults (over the age of 18) who experienced the incarceration of their fathers when they were children. The research focus on parents in prison has primarily been on incarcerated mothers rather than incarcerated fathers. We do not have a clear understanding of the experiences of children whose fathers go to prison. This research should help us increase our knowledge about what happens to the children of fathers who are in prison. Who Can Participate in the Study: If you are now 18 or older. If you were between the ages of 4 and 14 when your father was arrested. If your father was sent to prison (did not serve his whole sentence in jail). The Interview: Is confidential. Takes between one and two hours. Focuses on your life history, both before and after your father's incarceration Is tape recorded, with your permission Tapes are transcribed (typed) for analysis and erased after transcription. Pseudonyms are used in the transcription to maintain confidentiality. I will use some direct quotes in my dissertation, but no names or other identifying information will be used How to Participate: Contact me at or ----------> Email: ____________ or Write to: Mary West-Smith 264

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N 0\ Vl Subject Name Vinnie Brian Joe Ian David Elias Dewan Kenneth Craig Robert John Keith JD Trevor Aaron James B.J. Jack Jeron Derek Victory Nikky Nina Nicole Allison Doing Gender Age Race/Eth poor m 18 Hispanic poor m 19 White poor m 21 White poor m 18 White poor m 20 White poor m 26 White poor m 21 Black poor m 19 White poor m 23 White poor m 20 Black poor m 18 Hispanic poor m 42 Black poor m 45 Black poor m 23 White poor m 22 Native Am well m 24 White poor m 22 White poor m 26 White well m 28 Black well m 21 Black poor f 18 Black poor f 19 Black well f 24 Hispanic poor f 18 Black well f 18 White Education Where Now Hist Sub Ab Drop_out Shelter }1_ H.S. On own y GED Jail y GED/inst On own y HS dip_/DYC Shelter y Some college Jail y GED/inst Shelter y GED/DYC Shelter y GED Treatment y Dropout On own y HSdip/DYC Shelter Dropout Jail y Some college Spouse/part y HS dip/DYC Jail y Some college On own y Some college With mom }1_ Assoc deg Jail GED/inst Jail y College deg Spouse/part y Some college Campus H.S. Shelter Dropout Shelter Some college Spouse/part y HS dip/inst Shelter Some college Campus Type poly marijuana meth poly marijuana meth poly poly meth marijuana poly crack meth poly poly alcohol marijuana alcohol -----------Crim Type Active 'j_ drug dist/assl1 y assault y assault y dist/thftlasslt y drug dist y drug dist/assl1 y drug dist/assl1 y sex asslt/child y drug dist y drug dist/thefl y sex asslt/child y theft y drug dist y drug dist/thefl y assault y theft y theft y drug poss y sex ass1t/child '"t:l 0 >< t:l:l ....... ('") ('") @ r:n ...... ('") r:n 0 "T:1 r:n 0 -< '"t:l ('") ...... '"t:l r:n

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N 0\ 0\ Subject Name Vinnie Brian Joe Ian David Elias Dewan Kenneth Craig_ Robert John Keith JD Trevor Aaron James B.J. Jack Jeron Derek Victory Nikky Nina Nicole Allison Doing Dad Sub Dad Ale Dad Drug poor y y y poor y y y poor '1 y y poor y y y poor y [yheroin poor y y-crack poor y y y poor y y y poor y 'i y poor poor y y y poor y y poor y y y poor y y poor y _y y well y y y poor y y poor well 'j_ yheroin well y y y poor y y poor y y well y y y poor y y y well y y Poly> 2 Mom Sub MomAlc Mom Drug y y_ y_ 'Y_ y y y y y_ y_ 'Y_ y y y 'i. y-heroin y y-crack y y y y y y y y y y_ 'Y_ y y y_ 'Y_ y y y y y_ y_ 'Y_ y y y y y y-heroin y y y y_ y y y y y y y y y y y y 2 Both Sub Ab y y y y 'Y_ y y y y y y y 'Y_ y y y y 'i__ y y y y y 'i y y y y y In Utero y y y ?; ""d 0 ....... ttl tv tTl 0 r:n ......, 0 r:n tTl < tTl G; ""d r:n c ttl r:n (') tTl 6; c r:n tTl

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N 0\ -.l Subject Name Vinnie Brian Joe Ian David Elias Dewan Kenneth Craig Robert John Keith JD Trevor Aaron James B.J. Jack Jeron Derek Victory Nikky Nina Nicole Allison Doing Mom abuse Child Abuse poor y y poor y y poor y y poor y y poor y poor y poor y poor y y poor y poor y poor y y poor y y poor poor y poor well poor y poor well well poor y y poor y y well y y poor y well Type Dad Perp physical neglect neglect physical physical physical, sexuaVother physical physical, sub, neglect sub sexual, neglect neglect neglect neglect neglect neglect physical physical physical sexual, physical sexual physical physical physical physical physical physical physical neglect phy/neg physical, neglect phy/neg neglect sexual, physical sexual MomPerp Other Perp phy/neg sdad-phy neglect sdad-phy neglect fostdad sex neglect neglect adoptdad physical sdad-phys phy/neg smom-phy neglect smom-phy Comm/Gang y y y y y y y '1::1 0 to w tTl 0 en ...., 0 < 0 l' n tTl

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N 0'\ 00 Subject Name Vinnie Brian Joe Ian David Elias Dewan Kenneth Craig Robert John Keith JD Trevor Aaron James B.J. Jack Jeron Derek Victory Nikky Nina Nicole Allison Doing Dad Type poor y Schizophrenia poor poor poor poor poor poor poor y Bipolar poor y Depression poor poor poor poor poor poor well y Depression poor poor well well poor poor well poor well Mom Type Either Parent Subject y y y Bipolar y y y Depression y y y y y y y y y y y y y y Bipolar y y Depression y y y Bipolar y -Type Schizophrenia Bipolar/ADHD Depression/ ADHD Conduct disorder Bipolar Bipolar/ADHD Bipolar/ADHD Depression Bipolar/ADHD/PTSD Depression Conduct dis/ADHD Depression > t:l ...... :><: tl:' t:l ...... > 0 U'J m t:l t""' U'J tTj () ,..., ,..., > t""' ...... t""' m U'J U'J

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N 0'1 1.0 Subject Name Vinnie Brian Joe Ian David Elias Dewan Kenneth Craig Robert John Keith JD Trevor Aaron James B.J. Jack Jeron Derek Victory Nikk_y_ Nina Nicole Allison Doing Expos Crim What Activi!Y_ poor y drug dist/asslt poor y drug dist/asslt poor y drug dist/asslt poor y drug dist/asslt poor y drug dist/theft poor y drug dist poor y drug manu/dist poor poor poor y drug dist/asslt poor poor poor y drug dist/theft poor poor well poor poor y auto theft well well poor y drug dist/asslt poor y drug dist/asslt well y drug dist/theft poor y sex assault well Dad Prior Other Who Inc Family Inc y y mult fam mems y y sibling y y grandparent/uncle y y y y sibling y y multi fam mems y y mom y street family y y sibling y y y mult fam mems y uncles/sibling y y mom y y y Present at Delinquent Arrest Peers y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y 'i y y y y y y y y y y y y Gang Involvement y y y y y y y ?; '1::1 0 ........ :>< t:P Vl tr1 ?a 0 r/) ....., 0 n r:--t > n ....., < ........ ....., >-<; Ro z n tr1 s: ....., ........

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N ....:a 0 Subject Name Vinnie Brian Joe Ian David Elias Dewan Kenneth Craig Robert John Keith JD Trevor Aaron James B.J. Jack Jeron Derek Victory Nikky Nina Nicole Allison Doing #child Mom/step Dad inc &Dad alone/or subjec Prior w/other poor 4 poor 2 poor 4 y poor 4 y poor 2 y poor 4 y poor 5 y poor 2 y poor 2 y poor 4 poor 4 poor 5 y poor 7 y poor 2 y poor 6 y well 1 poor 3 y poor 3 well 4 well 4 y poor 3 poor 4 y well 2 y poor 3 y well 2 y Mom Neither mom 1 yr later alone/or nor dad with mom w/other y y y y y Adopt fam y_ y y y y y y y y Grandmothe y y y 'i y y (step) y ---------------------1 yr later New DSS IParentification other father figure y y Foster care y Foster care y y y y Foster care y y Foster care y y Foster care y y Adopt fam y y y y on own y Aunt& uncle y y y y y y y y y y ?; 0 ......... >< o:l 0\ ::r: 0 c:::: r:n 0 t""' 0 c:::: Ra t""' ......... < z 0 ;:t> r:n

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N -.....] -Subject Name Vinnie Brian Joe Ian David Elias Dewan Kenneth Craig Robert John Keith JD Trevor Aaron James B.J. Jack Jeron Derek Victory Nikky Nina Nicole Allison Doing pad lega Dad income illegal income poor y y poor y y poor y y poor y poor y_ y_ poor y 'i poor y y poor y poor y poor y poor y y poor y y poor y well y poor y poor y well y well y y poor y poor y well y 'i_ poor well y 'j Dad Mom Mom Mom financial financial legal illegal contribution contribution income income y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y 'j_ y_ y y y y_ y y y y y_ y y Unstable housing Unstable prior housing after incarceration incarceration y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y y 'j_ y_ y 'j_ y y y y y '""C 0 to '"r1 z n :; n ...., to Ra C/.l -0 ...., C/.l ...., ...., ....::

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N .....: N Subject Name Vinnie Brian Joe Ian David Elias Dewan Kenneth Craig Robert John Keith JD Trevor Aaron James B.J. Jack Jeron Derek Victory Nikky Nina Nicole Allison Doing poor poor poor poor poor poor poor poor poor poor poor poor JlOOr poor poor well poor poor well well poor poor well poor well Father's Relationship crime Dad violent little contact violent contact-prison violent no contact drug no contact drug deceased drug contact-prison drug no contact sex no coot-prison drug drug contact-prison sex no contact violent deceased violent deceased drug no coot-prison violent contact -prison violent contact-prison not no contact disclosed theft no contact drug little contact drug little contact drug little contact drug little contact drug close contact sex little contact drug close contact Perception Prison Sense of Pro social Dad Turn Point loss caregiver positive positive y y negative positive y y positive :1 y positive y y negative }j_ positive y y positive "j_ y 'I positive y negative positive y y y positive y y y positive y y y positive y y positive y negative y negative "j_ negative y negative y negative negative "j_ positive y y negative positive y y y Commitmen Other turning to school point new father new father new father lies about dad new father, reunification new father learning truth wake-up call learning truth y wake-up call y new father y reunification y reunification '"0 :>< 0;:) 00 z 0 '"0 0 z ,.., r.n Ro '"0 trJ p; trJ '"0 ,.., ....... 0 'Tl 'Tl

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APPENDIX C: INTERVIEWER HISTORY AND POTENTIAL BIAS As a person who has worked with children in foster care and their families, juveniles in the juvenile justice system, and inmates in the prison system, some of whom were parents, I must acknowledge my biases. The abused and neglected children with whom I worked generally had parents with serious substance abuse problems and/or who suffered from mental illnesses. These parents often were also involved with the criminal justice system. I was aware of the pain these children experienced by their separation from parents and siblings. Since I worked with the entire family, I also was aware of the frustrations experienced by parents caught up in two court systems while at the same time having to cope with the loss of their children. Although many of these parents were not able to provide safe homes for their children, the trauma of separation, for both the child and the parent, was obvious. My experience with juveniles offenders as well as adult inmates taught me that many of these individuals were also abused and/or neglected and frequently had other family members involved with the criminal justice system. I often heard similar stories about parental substance abuse, violence, despair, and involvement with the criminal justice and social services systems. Families members who were separated 273

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frequently talked about reuniting with their families, despite the highly disruptive and often destructive nature of many of these relationships My experience with these populations led to my interest in conducting research with them. I must acknowledge that I am biased and view incarcerated parents and their children in a much more sympathetic light than many people who work in or study the criminal justice system When I changed by role from advocate and service provider to researcher, I was required to be aware of these biases and to attempt to prevent my knowledge of this population from coloring my research and my findings. 274

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APPENDIX D: INFORMED CONSENT FORM CONSENT FORM Project Description: You have been asked to participate in a research project aimed at finding ways to learn more about the lives of children who have experienced the imprisonment of their fathers. The study is being conducted as research for a doctoral dissertation by a graduate student at the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado at Denver Procedures Involved: Participation in this study is strictly voluntary. As part of the research, I would like to interview you in order to learn more about the lives of children of incarcerated fathers, both before and after the father's incarceration. If you choose to participate in the interview process, you will be interviewed for one to two hours. If at any time during the interview you wish to discontinue the interview will stop Also, you can choose to not answer any particular questions or discuss any particular subject. The interview will be conducted in a private setting and, if you agree your interview will be tape recorded so that I do not miss important things you have to say. A report will be written based on your and other study participants answers and views The report will not contain your name or any other identifying information. There will be approximately 30 adult children whose fathers were incarcerated at some time during their youth who will participate in the study. Discomforts and Risks: The risks for your participation may vary. You may experience emotional discomfort if we discuss traumatizing events from your childhood. If any subjects discussed cause you to be uncomfortable, please let me know and we will avoid those areas. I will provide you with references for psychological counseling so that if you feel any of the topics we discuss cause you psychological discomfort, you will have access to someone who can help you. I will also provide you with information for organizations that provides support for inmate families In addition, please feel free to contact me at any time after our interview if you feel that you are in need of further help beyond the information I provide I can work with you to find other sources to help you with the specific problems you may have and will assist you in making contact with someone who may be able to help. 275

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I am required to report any ongoing or potential child abuse and/or neglect that you disclose to me. Child abuse and/or neglect that occurred when you were a child does not need to be reported. However, if you tell me about ongoing or potential abuse of a younger sibling or any minor child, I am required to report it to the University, which will determine if the abuse or neglect should be reported to the authorities. I am also required to report any information to the University that you disclose to me regarding plans you may have for future criminal activity. However, the focus of my questions will be about your childhood, both before and after your father's incarceration, and will not include questions about the future. Benefits: People who will benefit from this research are likely to be the children of incarcerated fathers. Only by learning about the life experiences of these children can we begin to identify ways to help them. This research may help policymakers and the public understand the difficulties faced by children whose fathers are in prison. Invitation for Questions: Please feel free to ask questions about any aspect of this research or this consent form. If you have any questions about your right as a study participant please contact the Human Subjects Research Committee Administrator at the University of Colorado at Denver at 303-556-4060. If you have questions for me about the research after the interview is over, please call me at 303-818-8455. Confidentiality: The interviews will be tape recorded for research purposes only. The information on the tapes will be typed immediately after the interview for research analysis. In order to protect you and your family, I will change your name in the transcription so that the information you provide is anonymous. The interview tape will be destroyed so that there is no way to link yotir name with the information you provided. No one except the researcher and the faculty members who are supervising this research will see your typed answers. I may use some direct quotations from several study participants in the final report, but no identifying information will be used. To minimize risk to you and your family, all transcriptions will be kept in a locked box in a secure location. Confidentiality cannot be 1 00% guaranteed, however, I will make every effort to keep the information you provide to me confidential. In the highly unlikely event that my research records are lost, stolen, or subpoenaed, others will not be able to link your name with the information in your transcribed answers By signing this form, you are giving your permission to be interviewed and tape recorded. 276

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If you are still interested in volunteering for an interview after reading this consent form, please sign the form below. Authorization: I have read this consent form or it has been read to me. I understand that every effort to maintain confidentiality will be made, but it cannot be guaranteed in all circumstances. All of the questions about this study have been answered to my satisfaction. I agree to participate in this study. I understand that I may choose to not answer any question and that I can stop being in the study at any time without any penalty. I will get a copy of this consent form. Participant's Signature-consent to participate Date Participant's Signature-consent to audiotape Interviewer's N arne 277

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N ......:1 00 Age School year Residence With whom School Type Attitude Progress l"hanges Residence Type With School Divorce Deaths ived with Mother Father Stepfather Stepmother Grandparent Siblings Other Placement Institution Homeless Absences Dad jail Dad prison Dad treatlhsp Other Dad Mom jail Mom prison Mom treat/hsp ::>titer mom Step jail ;t> "'"c;;j "'"c;;j -tn t"""4 -"Tj tn ::c -(/.) -3 0 (") ;t> t"""4 0

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N -....) \0 k\2e Stbool vear teo orison tep treat/hosp Abuse IQ_ad What !Mom What tepdad What I What K>tber What What !Violence !Dad Target !Mom Target Other abuse Type Target Other oero Type Target f'ommunity !Mental Healtb !Dad Type !Mom Type !Other Type Subject Type

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.w ... .. .. < ... ... ... a g a,w j j : '0 a e at'! <> a IJ "a '0 e .... it.c lr}l IC! .....:1 ::::: .....:1 ::::: 280

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APPENDIX F: SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS 1. Can you tell me who you lived with when you were a baby? 2. Did you have any brothers or sisters? Did you live with them? 3. Can you tell me about your home? Did your family move often? 4. When you started to school, what kind of school did you go to? 5. Can you tell me about elementary school? Did you like school? 6. What was middle school like for you? Can you tell me about your friends? 7 at was you neighborhood like? 8. What was life like in your home? 9. Did your mom or dad have any problems with drugs or alcohol? Can you tell me what that was like for you? 10. Did you live with (or see) you dad before he went to prison? Who did you live with after he went to prison? 11. How old were you when your dad went to prison? Do you remember the day he was arrested? Where you there? 12. Do you know what he was in prison for? 13. Had he been in prison or jail before? 14. Was your mom or dad violent? Can you tell me what that was like for you? 15. Were either of your parents diagnosed with a mental illness? What kind? 16. Do you remember seeing criminal activity when you were a kid? What kind? 17. Were you a victim of a crime? What kind? Can you tell me about that? 281

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APPENDIX G: ADDITIONAL TOPICS AND QUOTATIONS NOT USED School Performance I did good in elementary school. But in middle school, I got suspended a bunch of times for fighting. When I was in 6th grade, I got suspended 3 times. In 7th grade, I got kicked out because I got in 4 fights in like the first 2 months of school. I stayed in school until like the 1Oth grade. And I then I just got tired of all of it. Tired of school. Tired of my mom always hitting me. So then I just started doing really bad in school. Starting getting Fs and all that. And then I really got in trouble. (John, age 18) I didn't do very well in school...of course now, they call it Attention Deficit Disorder. But back then, I never got checked for it. But as I look back, I can remember times being in the classroom and after 15, 20 minutes, I'm out the window. My mind is totally someplace else. And so, I never did like to go to school. I was ditching. My grades were just terrible. I was really afraid of school, I was afraid of teachers. I had problems reading, comprehending. School was a terror. When I look back on it, it was easier for me to hang out with anybody I could hang out with instead of going to school. (J.D., age 45) It was all that changing schools and then having to hide the [sexual] abuse on top of that ... I just barely passed sixth grade ... Some days my father didn't make me go to school. Some days I'd be like, "I don't want to go to school." And he'd be like "Okay," then he'd write me a note the next day ... I also used to get detention quite a bit basically just for acting up in class. (Nicole, age 18) It was boring. I had been in the advanced classes before I started switching back and forth. I don't know if it was just teenager rebellion or whatever, but my dad and me just started not getting along at all. Not at all. And then he started shipping me and my half-brother between families. They were shipping us back and forth. It was more like emotional strain, mental strain, rather than any type of regular abuse, physical abuse. Being shipped back and forth, moving a lot, changing schools. It takes a toll. So it wasn't an issue of knowledge 282

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or learning, it was an issue of me just getting bored .. .I had more fun just not going to school. You know, classes were just too easy. I'd just sit there thinking why do I have to take this class when I already know this stuff ... And my math teacher got to the point where she didn't want to have to fail me for my attendance. She said "I don't care if you sleep in my class, just come to class." But I didn't. (Jack, age 26) Pretty much, growing up was hard for the simple fact that I was the youngest. I had to wear my brothers' hand-me-downs. My other brothers would have new clothes, and I got the clothes with the holes, the patches. And I would have to go to school like that. And that kind of made me reject school, because all the kids would make fun of me ... I was also trying to hide that my dad was in prison and the bruises from my stepdad .. .I had a record for running away from school starting in elementary school. .. I hated school. I dropped out over and over again. It was just because oflife was so hard. (Joe, age 21) I used to try to talk to one of the counselors at the school. But she would go back and would tell my grandmother everything that was going on and I'd get in trouble for it. There's been times when I attempted suicide and stuff like that and I would tell the counselors "I can't deal with this, I can't take my life any more." And my grandmother would tell them, "She ain't never had no suicide attempts." And my grandmother doesn't know, she didn't know what was going on in my life. And my dad, he'd come home and say "Don't talk to the school counselors." And he'd slap me or do something like that. So I just stopped talking to the counselors. I was like "Just forget it." (Nikky, age 19) I liked going to school to get away from the house. But we were taught not to say anything, basically keep our mouths shut because my mom and dad were afraid that if we told anybody at school what was going on at my house that we'd be taken away. So we didn't say anything. That's why my mom never got any major help [for her drug addiction]. We were just told to keep our mouths shut, even when we were younger. That why [the authorities] didn't come. It didn't become really obvious until later on when my dad started going to jail [and my mom couldn't take care ofus] ... My mom and dad didn't pay 283

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any attention to whether or not we went to school. It was just basically left up to us to go to school if we wanted to. (Elias, age 26) It was really hard when it came to parent-teacher conferences or things that your parents were supposed to come to. I was the only one who lived with my grandmother-everybody else had a mom and a dad. I lived in this school district where it was mostly fairly rich white families-I was the only one who didn't live with my mom and dad. And people would ask me questions about where my parents were. I didn't want to tell them that they were drug addicts and that they were in prison, so I made up this story. I told them that my mom and dad [lived in another part of the city where the schools were poor] and that since my grandmother lived close to this [good school], I lived with her. I came up with that story on my own. I just didn't want anybody to know about my parents ... Middle school was okay-I still got good grades, but I was so bottled up and suppressed I would get migraines. My grandmother thought I was depressed. But she really wanted me to do well in school and I really wanted to please her. So I continued to get good grades. But I really struggled with friendships. They were all just so superficial. It was like I put up a wall. (Jeron, age 28) I was popular. And I was popular for being me. Getting good grades, being involved in sports, for being cute, for having good clothes, for being polite, well-mannered. I didn't want to be that girl that everybody was talking about. Because I knew I couldn't go home and cry to my mom. I couldn't go home and rely on my family because they weren't put together .. .I was just so strong-willed, I wanted more than what I've saw around me. But I didn't share my whole life story with everybody, because I didn't want everybody to know. Because they knew me for who I was and I didn't want them to know all that other stuff. And I had everything, from my mom stealing, my dad stealing, my mom doing drugs, my dad doing drugs, being abused physically, mentally by my dad, everything. I had it all. I had it all. (Nina, age 24) I have always been a really diligent student and I was really lucky to receive amazing support from the teachers that I had. I was recognized at a young age to be really good at math. And I received so much support from my teachers that I always wanted to achieve those highest expectations that they had set for me. I was just lucky enough to receive outside adults who said "Hey, Allison, you're a smart kid. 284

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Don't let that go." So I really put all of my effort into school because I could pride myself on that. It kind of became my sanctuary. It was never scary for me. I always thought "This is what I'm good at, so I can be safe here, this is my space." (Allison, age 18) School was great. I always thought it was better for me to be at school than it was for me to be at home. So I got involved in a lot of after school activities, so I was at school more often than I was at home. Just to avoid the situation. I did see a lot of the guys I grew up with, going to elementary and middle school with them, and then going to high school, they went their way and I went my way I was more intrigued by sports and with keeping my GP A up, just because of the fact that it made my mom happy. And sports were kind of like another world for me. When I was out on the football field or the basketball court or even playing baseball, I was in dreamland. It was better to be there than to be out doing something wrong. (Derek, age 21) Delinquent Peers One thing led to another. I was off really into smoking pot, selling pot things like that. We used to go to the sanitation plant and pick pot and sell it to the neighborhood kids and stuff like that. I remember one day, my mom, she was just so nai"ve, she was just the nicest girl, but we got caught. The police officer came to the front door with two big black plastic bags filled with marijuana, and he knocked on the door and asked my mom "You know what this is?" And she said "Greens?" And he said, "No, ma'am, this is marijuana, and your son s been caught picking it over at the sanitation plant." And she says "What?" I was laughing so hard. (J.D., age 45) When I was in junior high, I just started hanging out with these kids who liked to fight. I liked to fight. I'm pretty good at it. I just started ditching classes, or just not doing the work ... I remember the first crime I committed. It wasn't that bad we stole a newspaper stand. We just pushed it into the back of this guy's truck .. .I wasn't really doing nothing major, just some juvenile mischief. When I was 13, I did 5 days in juvenile detention. After that, I just keep going back to detention for some reason or another I'd run away, I'd get picked up for something stupid, I just kept going back. (Jack, age 26) 285

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Substance Abuse When I was thirteen, my girlfriend got me into pot. And I was really, really, really into it. .I was getting high first thing in the morning and usually once after school. If not staying over at a friend's house during school, middle of school, lunch hour. Getting high, going back to school, went through most of my classes high. That's why, 9 grade, I didn't do very well. Getting high, ditching school. .. I'd been a really good student before. I was an excellent student through middle school, except for the last part. I just slacked off. That was around the time my father got locked up. (Kenneth, age 19) I did good in school. Even for a little while after my mom died and my dad went to prison [and I was moved here to live with my aunt and uncle]. I was doing good up until I was about 14. But I was a new kid and I struggled to make friends, to fit in with other people. I felt like I needed to do something to gain some acceptance. I was a really good student until I started getting involved with this one crowd. By the time I was in high school, I was wreaking havoc. I started getting involved with a lot of drugs and alcohol. I started by drinking a lot of alcohol and then I started smoking a lot of pot, and I started shooting up heroin, I started smoking meth, smoking crack, snorting coke, PCP, LSD, Ecstasy, just whatever I could get my hands on. At first I did it just to kind of fit in with the new crowd and everything, but then it became a habit. (Aaron, age 22) I had lots of problems in high school. I wasn't going to school. I was drinking a lot and using drugs. I was really angry about everything. And the people I was hanging out with were just like me .. .I pulled a knife on this guy and ended up in jail. I was starting to act just like my father. (James, age 24) Criminal Activity We skipped school a lot. And it was not too long before we started doing irregular stuff, going into stores, stealing, stuff like that ... I got in trouble with the juvenile authorities when I was about 15 or 16. But I stayed in trouble a lot by not going to school ... They held me back and I dropped out when I was in the 9th grade. (Keith, age 42) My mom didn't have much money and she couldn't buy me much of anything I wanted, so me and some of my friends started shoplifting 286

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We were pretty good at it. I stole a ton of shit and never got caught. We started stealing stuff from other people. We'd go into some of these other neighborhood where people had tons of shit. Just like I used to have. Like we'd steal bicycles or if someone left their garage door open, we'd just help ourselves to what ever we could get. One of my friends had an older brother who said that he'd buy stuff from us, so we were doing okay, we were pretty good at it ... By the time I made it to high school, I was dealing drugs .. .I started off selling weed ... [Then] I started selling a little coke, and then I was selling meth ... School was ajoke. I was just going so I could keep in contact with my customers. Then me and some of my friends started breaking into people's houses. I got busted for burglary before my senior year. They sent me to a juvenile detention facility. (Trevor, age 23) It just kept getting worse. We were homeless. I was like 12, 13. And I was breaking the law as a juvenile. From stealing to breaking and entering, this was all when I was, like, 12 years old. Breaking and entering, felony vandalism. Me and my brothers, we've all been in lots of trouble. But we had to learn how to survive at a young age ... I did a lot of drugs. Anything to get by. I'd do drugs long enough to hang out with somebody and be at their house. And if they had some food, I could eat. When I was a kid, I was hanging out with these other guys a lot older than me. When I did that, I pretty much ate all the time. It's kind oflike, I've done coke, and coke just didn't really do anything for me. I did coke so I would have a place to go. I used to do it because I could get a place to stay, but I hated doing it. I hated my life, I hated being like that. I didn't really have a childhood. (Joe, age 21) [Where I grew up] there were a lot of gangs. A lot of my friends are in gangs, but I try to stay away from that shit 'cause I know it's trouble. But some of my friends got me into selling drugs and stuff like that. And I got an aggravated motor vehicle theft charge when I was 15. I used a gun I got through one of my friends. (David, age 20) It's like hanging out with the Colombians, you're in, that's it. They don't know what out means. If you say that word, then, okay, go ahead and die because they'll help you out. And they've even told me, "If you want out, we'll kill you, if not, welcome in. You're my brother, I'm your brother." But I get all kinds of benefits from them. They'd never let me be homeless. Anytime I need help, they are five 287

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minutes away, I just need to call them. Nobody fucks with me. But, when they need something from me, I have to do it. Like if they need me to help them go do something, no matter what it is, I help them do it. (Ian, age 18) I started hanging out with gangs when I was about 10 or 11. I joined the gang when I was about 12. I started selling drugs at age 13. I was selling crack cocaine. Once I got kicked out of the house, that was where I went. Straight to the streets. When you're 13 years old and you ain't got nowhere to go and some dude rolls up in car and starts talking to you and gives you some stuff to sell, you start doing it. By the time I was 14, I just quit having any contact with my parents. And then drugs and gangs kind of took over and I didn't finish school. The last school I went to I got kicked out of for fighting. And my school record wasn't so good because of all the fights and other schools wouldn't take me. But from there I started making money selling drugs. I was just on the streets .. .I was out on the streets selling drugs just to put a roof over my head and food in my stomach. (Robert, age 20) I dropped out of high school when I was 16. And I just started running with my gang. And I didn't know how to suppress my feelings, so I started really drinking. And people could just give me one look, and I was like, "Okay, we're going to fight." And it got to the point where nobody wanted to be around me. I took myself off my medication and the only time I felt stable was when I was drinking. (Dewan, age 21) When I was growing up, I went to [a middle school in a gang neighborhood]. I was always picked on there, too. Not because I was a nerd or anything but because I was [in one gang] and everybody else there was [in a rival gang] ... [Middle school is] the main times for the OGs [for recruiting]. They would wait out in front of the school, after school looking for kids. They'd say "Hey, why don't you come over here? You want to do this? You want to do that?" And that's how they hook them. They just wait outside and it's like fresh meat, I guess. That's how they hooked me. But, actually me and my brother was always just wanting to do that ... We used to get high with them, go steal cars, go do stupid shit with them anytime they said. And so they finally put us in. [The gang initiation] was three minutes long. But if you fell, your time starts over. You had to stay on your feet for three minutes. But you had to do it twice ... So when I was about 12, I 288

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really started hanging out with my OG. If you d walk into his house, you'd have to knock, and they would answer the door with a shotgun. And everybody in the whole living room would have guns in their hands. And they would pat you down, make sure you had no guns, and if you went downstairs there was nothing but dope. (Vinnie, age 18) 289

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Carlson B.E., & Cervera, N. (1992). Inmates and Their Wives: Incarceration and Family Life. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Casper, L.M & Bianchi, S.M. (2002). Continuity and change in the American family. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Caspi, A., Moffitt, T.E., Thornton, A., Freedman, D., Amell, J.W., Harrington, H., Smeijers, J., & Silva, P.A. (1996). The life history calendar: A research and clinical assessment method for collecting retrospective event-history data. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 6, 101-114. Cavanagh, S.E., & Huston, A.C. (2000). Family instability and children's early behavior problems. Social Forces, 85, 551-581. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d. b.). Total births and percentage of births with selected demographic characteristics, by race and Hispanic origin of mother : United States, final 2004 and preliminary 2005. Retrieved December 28, 2006, from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/datalhestatlpre1imbirths05 tables.pdf Chapman, D P., Whitfield, C.L., Felitti, V.J., Dube, S.R., Edwards, V.J., & Anda, R.F. (2004). Adverse childhood experiences and the risk of depressive disorders in adulthood. Journal of Affective Disorders, 82, 217-225. Chassin, L, Pillow, D., Curran, P. Molina, B & Barrera, M. (1993). Relation of parental alcoholism to early adolescent substance use: A test of three mediating mechanisms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 102, 3-19. Conway, K Kane, R., Ball, Poling, J., & Rounsaville, B. (2003). Personality, substance of choice, and polysubstance involvement among substance dependent patients. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 71, 65-75. Copping, V.E. (1996). Beyond overand under-control: Behavioral observations of shelter children. Journal of Family Violence, 11, 41-57. Cummings, J.G., Pepler, D.J., & Moore, T.E. (1999). Behavior problems in children exposed to wife abuse: Gender differences. Journal of Family Violence, 14, 133-156. Daniel, S. W ., & Barrett, C.J. ( 1981 ). A challenge for the mental health professions. Community Mental Health Journal, 17 ( 4), 310-322. 292

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