Christiansen Trial Lawyers

CONTACT OUR LAW FIRM : 702-240-7979

Trial Lawyers When You Need It Most

Incarceration as a family affair: The hidden consequences

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Incarceration is undoubtedly a family affair, and its consequences reach far beyond prison walls. Families dealing with the incarceration of a loved one face emotional, economic and social challenges that often go unnoticed by others.

The United States, despite all the rights people are afforded, has the biggest prison population in the world, and data increasingly shows that prisoners aren’t the only ones being sentenced. How does prison affect the families of the convicted? Consider the following.

It disrupts family bonds

Almost half (47%) of the people in prison have minor children, and nearly one in five (19%) are parents of children four years of age and under. Incarceration can severely disrupt parent-child bonds. Visitation policies, distance and limited communication can make it hard for families to stay connected. That can leave a child to grow up without the love and support from their parent that they desperately need. It can also weaken marital ties and lead to separation and divorce when a spouse is unable to cope.

It can leave children adrift

When a parent goes to prison, the children have to go somewhere. While the vast majority end up with their other parent, roughly 22% will end up with other relatives – who may or may not cope well with the task. Another 1.8% will go to foster care. That can leave children in these situations feeling like burdens on their relatives or placeless.

It causes economic struggles

When the incarcerated person leaves a spouse on the outside, that spouse has to pick up all the slack and carry the financial load alone. This often results in unstable housing, food insecurity and more due to the challenges of maintaining a single-parent, single-income household. That can force families onto public assistance and limit their opportunities.

It can leave loved ones stigmatized

The stigma associated with having a family member in prison can be harsh. Children can be subjected to bullying and discrimination, and parents may face social isolation and judgment from their peers. This added layer of stigma can make it even more challenging for the family to cope with the situation. Some move away from areas where a trial was broadly publicized to escape the social pressure, which can add to the breakdown of the relationships between the incarcerated person and their family members.

If you are facing the potential of incarceration due to criminal charges, the most proactive thing you can do to protect your freedom and your family’s future is to take immediate steps to learn more about your defense options by seeking legal guidance.