Impacts of Incarceration on the African American Family

Front Cover
Othello Harris, R. Robin Miller
Transaction Publishers - Social Science - 225 pages
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The criminal justice system has driven a wedge between black men and their children. African American men are involved in the criminal justice system, whether through incarceration, probation, or parole, at near epidemic levels. At the same time, the criminal justice system has made little or no institutional efforts to maintain or support continuing relationships between these men and their families. Consequently, African American families are harmed by this in countless ways, from the psychological, physical, and material suffering experienced by the men themselves, to losses felt by their mates, children, and extended family members.

The volume opens with an introduction and brief review by R. Robin Miller, Sandra Lee Browning, and Lisa M. Spruance, outlining the impacts of incarceration on the African American family. Brad Tripp, explores changes in family relationships and the identity of incarcerated African American fathers. Mary Balthazar and Lula King discuss the loss of the protective effect of marital and nonmarital relationships and its impact on incarcerated African American men, and the implications for African American men and those who work with them in the helping professions. Theresa Clark explores the relationship between visits by family and friends and the nature of inmate behavior. In a research note, Olga Grinstead, Bonnie Faigeles, Carrie Bancroft, and Barry Zack investigate the actual costs families incur to maintain contact with family members, be it emotional, social, or financial. Patricia E. O'Connor uses data from sociolinguistic interviews of male inmates from a maximum security prison to study how some of these men manage to continue to fulfill the fatherhood role long-distance. In a concluding chapter, Sandra Lee Browning, Robin Miller, and Lisa Spruance focus on actions of the criminal justice system that undermine the black family, on reasons that black male inmate fathers are studied so rarely, and discuss the role restorative justice may play.

This insightful volume fills a void in the literature on the role of African American men in the functioning of families. It will be of interest to students of African American studies, social workers, and policy makers.


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Various Implications of the Race to Incarcerate on Incarcerated African American Men and Their Families
Incarcerated African American Fathers Exploring Changes in Family Relationships and the Father Identity
The Loss of the Protective Effects of Marital and NonMarital Relationships of Incarcerated African American Men Implications for Social Work
The Relationship Between Inmate Visitation and Behavior Implications for African American Families
The Financial Cost of Maintaining Relationships with Incarcerated African American Men Results from a Survey of Women Prison Visitors
The Prison Cage as Home for African American Men
Criminal Incarceration Dividing the Ties That Bind Black Men and Their Families
Behavioral Problems in Sons of Incarcerated or Otherwise Absent Fathers The Issue of Separation
African American Fathers and Sons Social Historical and Psychological Considerations
The Contribution of Marriage to the Life Satisfaction of Black Adults
The Impact of Incarceration on African American Families Implications for Practice
Parents in Prison New Directions for Social Services
The Endangerment of African American Men An Appeal for Social Work Action
The Crisis of the Young African American Male and the Criminal Justice System
African American Incarceration and Policy Initiatives Concluding Remarks
Name Index

The Effects of Negative Stereotypes on African American Male and Female Relationships

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