of Prisoners Fact Sheet
It is estimated that about 2,250,000 children have incarcerated
parents at any day .
Over 5,000,000 children have parents who have been incarcerated
at least once. That is over 6% of all children in the United
Over 55,000 children end up in foster care during the incarceration
of their parents. Most of these children change their foster placement
at least twice while their parents are in prison .
Over 50% of current inmates come from single headed families, or
were raised by other family members and in foster homes .
78% of women are mothers when entering the prison, and 64% of men
are fathers when entering the prison. Additional 6% of women are
pregnant when entering the prison. Most are separated from
the newborns soon after the birth .
Half of the incarcerated parents are NEVER visited by their children
Visitation policies in prison usually make it difficult and unpleasant
for children to visit.
Prior to incarceration 85% of prisoners earn less than $25,000 a
year, with three out of ten earning less than $10,000
. The vast majority of families of prisoners live in
poverty even prior to incarceration.
Families of prisoners spend as much as $250 a month on telephone
calls, while trying to maintain contact with their incarcerated
loved ones. This is mainly due to high surcharges on collect
calls from prison imposed by telephone companies, who are required
to pay high commissions to the state government.
In 1997-1998 fiscal year, New York state made profit of $21 million
on prisoner collect calls commissions; California made
$15 million, Ohio and Florida $14 each, Virginia $10, etc
Estimation based on formula for calculating number of children of
incarcerated parents by Johnson, D. [(1995). Effects of parental
incarceration. In Gabel, K. & Johnson, D. (eds.). Children
of Incarcerated Parents, p.62., New York, NY: Lexington Books];
and prison and jail population statistics from U.S. Department of
Justice [USDJ. (2000). Prison and jail inmates at midyear 1999.
Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin.].
Butterfield, F. (April 18, 1999). Children bear burden of jailed
parents. New York Times, p.A34.
 Estimation based on estimated number of
children (see footnote 1) and percentage of children placed in foster
care [Johnston, D. (1995). The care and placement of prisoners
children. In Gabel, K. & Johnson, D. (eds.). Children of Incarcerated
Parents, p.62., New York, NY: Lexington Books, p.109].
 USDJ. (1993). Survey
of State Prison Inmates, 1991, p.9, Figure 14. Bureau of Justice
Statistics. USDJ. Office of Justice Programs.
 USDJ. (1994). Survey of state
prison inmates, 1991: Women in prison, p.6. Bureau of Justice Statistics
Special Report. USDJ, Office of Justice Programs.
 Seymour, C. (1998). Children with parents
in prison: Child welfare policy, program, and practice issues.
Child Welfare, 77, p.473.
 USDJ. (1993). Survey of State Prison
Inmates, 1991, p.3. Bureau of Justice Statistics. USDJ. Office of
 Florida Corrections Commissions. (1998).
Maintaining family contact when a family member goes to prison:
An examination of state policies on mail, visiting, and telephone
access. Florida House of Representatives, Justice Council,
Committee on Corrections. Available at: http://www.fcc.state.fl.us/fcc/reports/family/famv.html
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