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The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political & Social Science

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political & Social Science
Tough on Crime, Tough on Families? Criminal Justice and Family Life in America

First Edition
Edited by:

May 2016 | 243 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

More than 30 years after President Reagan declared a war on drugs and more than 20 years after President Clinton declared a war on lawlessness, President Obama has described our criminal justice system as broken; and plagued by overaggressive policing, prison overcrowding, and abominable conditions for inmates. He also characterized the criminal justice system as an “aspect of American life that remains particularly skewed by race and wealth, a source of inequity that has ripple effects on families and communities and ultimately on our nation.” The president is joined in this view by a broad and increasingly bipartisan group of Americans interested in finding ways to reform criminal justice in America.

 How the expansion of the U.S. criminal justice system over the last four decades has affected children and families is a critical concern for researchers and some policymakers. We know that family effects are profound, complex, variable, and often disconcerting: “low-level” and “nonviolent” offenders, for example, can sometimes be a source of disarray and violence in their own families, and “violent” and “serious” offenders are sometimes stalwart spouses and parents. This volume of The ANNALS sheds light on the prospects and perils of U.S. criminal justice reform for family life, and provides guidance for policy and future research.


Sara Wakefield, Hedwig Lee, and Christopher Wildeman
Tough on Crime, Tough on Families? Criminal Justice and Family Life in America
Amanda Geller, Kate Jaeger, and Garrett T. Pace
Surveys, Records, and the Study of Incarceration in Families
Signe Hald Andersen
Drinking Alone? The Effect of an Alcohol Treatment Program on Relationship Stability for Convicted Drunk Drivers in Denmark
Megan Comfort
“A Twenty-Hour-a-Day Job”: The Impact of Frequent Low-Level Criminal Justice Involvement on Family Life
Christopher Wildeman, Kristin Turney, and Youngmin Yi
Paternal Incarceration and Family Functioning: Variation Across Federal, State, and Local Facilities
Shadd Maruna
Commentary: Time to Get Rid of the Skid Bid? What Good Are Short Stays of Incarceration?
Robert Apel
The Effects of Jail and Prison Confinement on Cohabitation and Marriage
Sarah Lageson
Found Out and Opting Out: The Consequences for Online Criminal Records for Families
Christopher Uggen
Commentary: Records, Relationships, and Reentries: How Specific Punishment Conditions Affect Family Life
Lars H. Andersen
How Children’s Educational Outcomes and Criminality Vary by Duration and Frequency of Paternal Incarceration
Lawrence M. Berger, Maria Cancian, Laura Cuesta, and Jennifer Noyes
Families at the Intersection of the Criminal Justice and Child Protective Services Systems
Sara Wakefield and Kathleen Powell
Distinguishing Petty Offenders from Serious Criminals in the Estimation of Family Life Effects
William J. Sabol
Commentary: Could Linked Data Help Us To Better Understand the Macro-Level Consequences of Mass Imprisonment?
Anna R. Haskins and Hedwig Lee
Reexaminging Race When Studying the Consequences of Criminal Justice Contact for Families
Nancy Rodriguez
Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice: The Role of Science in Addressing the Effects of Incarceration on Family Life

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