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Children of the Prison Boom – Mass Incarceration and the Future of American Inequality - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Children of the Prison Boom: Mass Incarceration and the Future of American Inequality

Sara Wakefield and Christopher Wildeman


An unrelenting prison boom, marked by large racial disparities in the risk of incarceration, characterized the latter third of the 20th century. Drawing on broadly representative survey data and qualitative interviews, Children of the Prison Boom describes the devastating effects of America’s experiment in mass incarceration for a generation of vulnerable children. Parental imprisonment has been transformed from an event affecting only the unluckiest of children—children of parents whose involvement in crime would have been quite serious—to one that is remarkably common, especially for black c ... More

Keywords: inequality, family instability, incarceration, crime, race, class, child well-being

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199989225
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199989225.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sara Wakefield, author
Rutgers University

Christopher Wildeman, author
Yale University