Social and economic implications of family connections to prisoners

Johnna Christian, Jeff Mellow, Shenique Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Research about incarceration has moved beyond studies of the individual prisoner to examine how incarceration impacts prisoners' families and neighborhoods. Much of the family-centered work highlights the potential benefits for the prisoner of maintaining ties to family during the incarceration period, and particularly after release. Less thoroughly considered is the potential benefits and costs to families of maintaining a relationship with an incarcerated individual. This article addresses this topic with a qualitative study of prisoners' families, as well as a review of census data in one high incarceration neighborhood. Research findings suggested that there were significant costs, both social and economic, to a prisoner's family if they desired to maintain the most basic level of connection with him. The study further suggested that families and prisoners were put in a position requiring constant negotiation of competing interests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-452
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Social and economic implications of family connections to prisoners'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this