A new study that sought to measure intergenerational exposure to the U.S. Justice System has unveiled that four in 10 U.S. children were raised in households in which at least one parent faced conviction or time in prison.
The research was conducted as part of a team from the U.S. Census Bureau, the University of Michigan, and the University of Missouri.
“Intergenerational exposure to the justice system is both a marker of vulnerability among children and a measurement of the potential unintended externalities of crime policy in the U.S.,” the journal report explained.
“We find substantially larger prevalences of intergenerational exposure to the criminal justice system than previously reported: 9% of children born between 1999–2005 were intergenerationally exposed to prison, 18% to a felony conviction, and 39% to any criminal charge; charge exposure rates reach as high as 62% for Black children,” the report further emphasized.
Overall, the results of the research support the rationale that “criminal justice contact beyond contemporaneous exposure, exposure by a biological parent, and exposure to incarceration have meaningful implications for childhood environments and outcomes.”