Study: Criminal Justice Involvement of Parents Has Negative Generational Effect on Children in Ohio

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A study from the Health Policy Institute of Ohio on the generational effects that can impact children of incarcerated parents in the state found that the incarceration of a household member can cause serious and long-lasting health and economic harms across generations and for individuals, families and communities, Susan Tebben reports for the Ohio Capital Journal. The study also found that said living circumstances can put children at risk of also falling into the criminal justice system themselves.

“Children whose parents are in jail or prison are more likely to develop a learning disability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, behavioral or conduct problems, developmental delays and speech or language problems,” researchers said. Children can experience poor grades, higher drop-out rates, the involvement of children services agencies or separation from their families, loss of health insurance or homelessness because of an incidence of incarceration in their household. Even after one has served their time, re-entry can cause it’s own issues that connect to household health, including homelessness and limited educational and economic opportunity. The study found that Ohio “has a strong foundation for supporting children and families,” but prevention and mitigation of criminal justice on a child’s life could be improved. The institute recommended more focus on mentoring programs and social-emotional learning programs.

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