Mental health service needs in the prison boom: The case of children of incarcerated mothers

From Criminal Justice Policy Review

As the number of incarcerated women in the United States has increased dramatically over the past several decades there have been growing concerns over the well-being of children of imprisoned mothers. Numerous studies have shown anxiety, depression, and other internalizing problems to be common among children of incarcerated mothers. This article  identifies the factors related to mental health service use among children of incarcerated mothers. Data on 700 children collected from a diverse sample of mothers in Arizona are used, and a two-stage probit model with sample selection is estimated to assess the various child, mother, and caregiver characteristics associated with children’s use of mental health services. The findings of this study have important implications for correctional policy regarding the intake screening of female inmates and suggest that criminal justice agencies communicate more closely with CPS and community-based services to ensure children’s mental health needs are addressed while their mothers are in prison.

 

Abstract

This study identifies the factors related to mental health service use among children of incarcerated mothers. Data on 700 children collected from a diverse sample of mothers in Arizona are used, and a two-stage probit model with sample selection is estimated to assess the various child, mother, and caregiver characteristics associated with children’s use of mental health services. Results indicate that children involved in child protective services (CPS) and children cared for by grandparents are more likely to receive mental health services, whereas children of Native American mothers and children who have been exposed to violence are less likely to receive services for their mental health needs. These findings have important implications for correctional policy regarding the intake screening of female inmates and suggest that criminal justice agencies communicate more closely with CPS and community-based services to ensure children’s mental health needs are addressed while their mothers are in prison.

 

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Article details
Jillian J. Turanovic and Nancy Rodriguez
Mental Health Service Needs in the Prison Boom: The Case of Children of Incarcerated Mothers Criminal Justice Policy Review 0887403415591269, first published on June 18, 2015 doi:10.1177/0887403415591269

 

 

 

 

     
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