Background Parental incarceration is a challenging and pivotal experience for families. Efforts to prepare children can hinder or promote children's abilities to adapt. Objective This study addresses the research question: How informed and prepared are children for parental incarceration, family reentry, and re-incarceration? Methods Fourteen young adults shared their experiences related to childhood parental incarceration and family reentry through individual interviews. Findings Regardless of the parent's stage of criminal justice involvement, arrest, incarceration, reentry, or re-incarceration, participants reported receiving very little information about what was taking place, why, or what they could expect. Conclusions Small efforts to prepare and inform children were perceived to be helpful as children. Resources and brief interventions that mitigate this experience of being kept in the dark are described.
Urban Social Work
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Young, Diane and Smith, Carrie, "Kept in the Dark: Exploring Children's Preparation for Parental Incarceration and Reentry" (2018). Social Work & Criminal Justice Publications. 511.