Gendered Differences in Child Care Means Incarceration Disproportionately Burdens Women

According to a special report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, women are more likely to lose their children due to imprisonment (BJS 2000). Among state prisoners, 65% of women and 55% of men have minor children. While 58% of these mothers lived with their children prior to admission, only 36% of fathers did. Mothers (46%) were also more likely than fathers (14%) to have been the only parent living with the children in the month before their arrest. Not only this, about 90% of fathers in state prison said that their children now lived with their mother, while only 28% of mothers said the father was the child’s current caregivers. Given this, it is not surprising that 10% of incarcerated mothers but only 2% of incarcerated fathers reported that their children were currently in foster care.

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