101 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 77 (2011)
Children of Incarcerated Parents: The Child's Constitutional Right to the Family Relationship

handle is hein.journals/jclc101 and id is 79 raw text is: 0091-4169/11/10101-0077
THE JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL LAW & CRIMINOLOGY                          Vol. 101, No. 1
Copyright C 2011 by Northwestern University School of Law         Printed in US.A.
CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED PARENTS:
THE CHILD'S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT
TO THE FAMILY RELATIONSHIP
CHESA BOUDIN
I. INTRODUCTION
When judges sentence people to prison, and when prison
administrators determine visitation policies, minor children are often
ignored.' This is not an obscure issue but rather has significant, daily
ramifications for a generation of American youth. As incarceration rates
have spiraled by over 500% in the last thirty years,2 so have the number of
children who have lost parents to the prison system. In fact, in the United
States, there are more children with incarcerated parents than there are
people in prison.4 Incarcerating parents of minor children is not just an
issue for those sentenced to prison; the practice also generates third party
harms for the children, their caregivers, the welfare apparatus of the state,
. Chesa Boudin is a third year law student at Yale University. Special thanks to
Professor Judith Resnik for her guidance and feedback throughout the research and writing
of this Article. Thanks also to Professor Philip Genty, Aileen Campbell, Theresa Miguel,
Ashley Waddell, and my mother, Kathy Boudin.
1 See generally NELL BERNSTEIN, ALL ALONE IN THE WORLD: CHILDREN OF THE
INCARCERATED (2005) (detailing the plight of children with incarcerated parents); CHILDREN
OF INCARCERATED PARENTS (Katherine Gabel & Denise Johnston eds., 1995) (providing
guidance to social workers, caregivers, and others who work with children of incarcerated
parents).
2 The  Sentencing  Project  News-Incarceration, THE  SENTENCING  PROJECT,
http://www.sentencingproject.org/template/page.cfm?id=107 (last visited Oct. 29, 2010); see
also Bureau of Justice Statistics, Dep't of Justice, Correctional Population Trends Chart,
http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/glance/corr2.cfm (last visited Oct. 29, 2010).
3 LAUREN E. GLAZE & LAURA M. MARUSCHAK, BUREAU OF JUSTICE STATISTICS, DEP'T OF
JUSTICE, SPECIAL REPORT: PARENTS IN PRISON AND THEIR MINOR CHILDREN 1-2 (2008),
available at http:/Ibjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/pptmc.pdf.
4~ Id. at 1.

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