Incarcerated Parent Family Structure

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Two major themes of family dynamics and childhood victimization are a constant thread found in juvenile delinquency research and literature. Specific family structures contribute to the likelihood of delinquency more than others. Nuclear, blended, parental cohabitation, single parent, and incarcerated parent family structures affect the incidences of juvenile delinquency to varying degrees. Adding one variable on top of others compounds the stressors that increase the probability of juvenile delinquency. Each style of the family unit has traits that alter the risk of delinquency. As the family dynamic becomes further from a nuclear unit, the socioeconomic status also becomes lower, which again raises the risk of delinquency. As the percentage…show more content…
An incarcerated parent family could also be a blended family or single parent family unit. The risks associated with both styles of families were previously discussed. Adding an incarcerated parent to the variables and the percentages of delinquency rises exponentially. More than 2.7 million children in the U.S. have an incarcerated parent, roughly about 1 in 28 children. About half of the youth with an incarcerated parent are under ten years of age (Church, et al., 2009, pg. 6). In addition, the home environment of an incarcerated parent often contains numerous stressors such as violence, older sibling delinquency, inconsistent parenting skills, and behavior problems (Aaron & Dallaire, 2009, pg. 1471). The youth will be more likely to exhibit the same behaviors witnessed in the home, or when coping with the contact with the delinquent parent (Aaron & Dallaire, 2009, pg. 1472). Even if the incarcerated family member is not necessarily a parent, the predisposition for juvenile delinquency rises steadily and there is concern for the juvenile witnessing these stressors (Church, et al., 2009, pg. 4). “So watch yourselves. "If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42, New International Version). In many cases, the lack of income or support from the incarcerated parent leaves the household with one income or even none if the parent at home is not working. This is the lowest socioeconomic status group, and is the highest risk for

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