• 1.7 million minor children have a parent who is incarcerated
  • 52% of State and 63% of Federal incarcerated individuals have children under age 18
  • One in four women in the United States currently has a family member in prison
  • 44% of parents in state prison were living with their children at the time of incarceration
  • 59% of fathers never had a personal visit with their children since admission to prison

Families affected by incarceration deal with a variety of issues. Not only is there the emotional impact of separation and new family roles, often the family has new economic stressors as a result of incarceration. Parental incarceration is recognized as an adverse childhood experience and can significantly increase the likelihood of long-time negative outcomes for children. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are stressful or traumatic events, including abuse and neglect. They may also include household dysfunction such as witnessing domestic violence or growing up with family members who have substance use disorders. ACEs are strongly related to the development and prevalence of a wide range of health problems throughout a person’s lifespan, including those associated with substance misuse.


Re-entry is a very positive time, but it can also be extremely challenging for returning citizens and for their families and community. It is important to use the resources available. They include:

  • Probation Officers: If a returning citizen has a probation officer, he or she can be a great source of information. Visit the Community Corrections web page and scroll down to Probation and Parole Offices and Special Program Facilities. Click on the link for your region to find your parole officer.
  • Community Corrections, The Virginia Department of Corrections: This agency provides supervision and services for probationers and parolees and is a good source for general information.
  • Family Engagement is a cornerstone of The Virginia Department of Social Services.  Visit web page for more information.
  • Re-entry Councils: Find out what Re-entry Councils are and what they can do for you, and find the Council that serves your location.


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