Mass Incarceration of Fathers: A Handbook to Address Issues That Arise Before and After Release
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A father’s role in the lives of their children is vital. The nuclear family is often cited as a cornerstone or our society and fathers, in a traditional sense, are important sources of strength, stability, and support that are critical to the foundations of family unit. The phenomenon of mass incarceration, however, has been detrimental to the institution of fatherhood. The vast majority of prisoners in our state and federal detention facilities are males and, unfortunately, most male prisoners are fathers. The impact of father absence due to incarceration has serious implications in multiple areas of a child’s life. For instance, father incarceration has been linked to emotional and behavior issues in children. Further, the presence of fathers in their children’s lives remains a key factor in child poverty rates. However, most incarcerated dads will eventually be released from confinement only to face a different, but equally daunting set of obstacles. This paper examines the literature surrounding the issue of father absence due to incarceration. It used the literature to develop a resource guide to assist Texas fathers with some of the challenges they will face as they work to reintegrate into their communities and fulfill their paternal roles after they are released.