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by Peter Moskos

July 6, 2009

Life Without Daddy

At any given moment, more than 1.5 million children have a parent, usually their father, in prison.
Among those born in 1990, one in four black children, compared with one in 25 white children, had a father in prison by age 14. Risk is concentrated among black children whose parents are high-school dropouts; half of those children had a father in prison, compared with one in 14 white children with dropout parents.
In some cases children may benefit from a parent’s forced removal, especially when a father is a sexual predator or violent at home. But more often, the harm outweighs any benefits.
The whole story by Erik Eckholm in the New York Times.

I like making fun of the "think of the children" line. But in this case, shouldn't we? What's the answer?


Anonymous said...

Among many others, one thing that becoming a father sharpened in me was my committment to stay out of jail. I realized that even worse than living free and poor or without basic needs as a family would be for me to not be around at all, off in some faraway place due to a stupid act I committed voluntarily, the consequences of which I was aware of.

"In some cases children may benefit from a parent’s forced removal... But more often, the harm outweighs any benefits."

Indeed! Shame on these men for acting in a way that tore their families apart, except for the innocent ones, such as the ones who were framed. Since the rest weren't responsible enough to act as good fathers should, I guess the question now is how we can teach them to do so upon release from prison, and if there is any type dispensation we can give to their kids to compensate for the gross shortcomings of their parents.

The article is written as if this phenomenon is some sort of health problem for the children, which it is, but only because it was a cultural and moral problem for the parents in the first place.

PCM said...

Thanks for that comment.