The issue of “which is harder on the children, having an incarcerated father or mother?” continues to be a debate among professionals worldwide. These 2 resources help to provide a background information for both arguments. 

  1. Poehlmann-Tynan, D. H. Dallaire (eds.), Children with Incarcerated Mothers, Separation , Loss and Reunification.
    Springer Briefs in Psychology, 2021
    This book focuses on children with incarcerated mothers, a growing and vulnerable population. It presents five empirical studies, along with an introduction and summary chapter. The five empirical chapters examine new qualitative and quantitative data on:

  • Typical births during incarceration in contrast with mother and child benefits of prison doula programs.
  • Explores maternal substance abuse, the criminal justice system, and children’s protective services.
  • Discusses residential drug treatment and supervision mandates and their effects on mother-child separation.
  • Addresses child separation from incarcerated mothers and the ongoing effects following family reunification

McKay, T., Comfort, M., Lindquist, C., & Bir, A. (2019).
Holding on: Family and fatherhood during incarceration and reentry. University of California Press.

Holding On reveals the results of an unprecedented ten-year study of justice-involved families, rendering visible the lives of a group of American families whose experiences are too often lost in large-scale demographic research. Using new data from the Multi-site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting, and Partnering—a groundbreaking study of almost two thousand families, incorporating a series of couples-based surveys and qualitative interviews over the course of three years—Holding On sheds rich new light on the parenting and intimate relationships of justice-involved men, challenging long-standing boundaries between research on incarceration and on the well-being of low-income families. Boldly proposing that the failure to recognize the centrality of incarcerated men’s roles as fathers and partners has helped to justify a system that removes them from their families and hides that system’s costs to parents, partners, and children, Holding On considers how research that breaks the false dichotomy between offender and parent, inmate and partner, and victim and perpetrator might help to inform a next generation of public policies that truly support vulnerable families.