Skip to main content
Back to Top

Parent-child visiting practices in prisons and jails

Date Added to Library: 
Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 11:43
Individual Author: 
Cramer, Lindsey
Goff, Margaret
Peterson, Bryce
Sandstrom, Heather
Reference Type: 
Research Methodology: 
Published Date: 
Published Date (Date): 
Thursday, April 13, 2017

Relationships between children and their parents are the foundation on which children learn how to form and sustain healthy relationships. Disrupting those relationships—by losing a parent to incarceration, for example—can have long-term effects on children and may lead to antisocial behavior, poor school performance, and physical and mental health problems.

Recent estimates show that 2.7 million US children have a parent who is incarcerated, and more than 5 million children—7 percent of all US children—have had a parent in prison or jail at some point. African American children and children from economically disadvantaged families are more likely to experience parental incarceration.

To mitigate the risks of parental incarceration for children, some correctional agencies offer parent-child visits in prisons or jails. There are several types of parent-child visits, but many experts believe contact visits, where the child and parent can physically interact, are the most helpful in safeguarding against risk and forging stronger bonds between parents and children.

Although some evidence suggests visiting practices can lessen the trauma associated with parental incarceration, the full effects of visiting remain understudied. Our goal was to help inform researchers and practitioners about what is known about visiting practices, describe key components of visiting practices, and offer recommendations for practice and research. (Author abstract)

Target Populations: 
Geographic Focus: 
Page Count: 

The SSRC is here to help you! Do you need more information on this record?

If you are unable to access the full-text of the article from the Public URL provided, please email our Librarians for assistance at

In addition to the information on this record provided by the SSRC, you may be able to use the following options to find an electronic copy from an online subscription service or your local library:

  • Worldcat to find an electronic copy from an online subscription service
  • Google Scholar to discover other full text options