Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Sociology

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Catherine Mobley

Committee Member

Dr. James Witte

Committee Member

Dr. William Haller


The purpose of this thesis was to test the proposition that parents who are currently incarcerated are at high risk for having children who are also incarcerated. Furthermore, several risk factors, commonly found in homes with previously or currently incarcerated members, were identified and analyzed to predict the odds of an incarcerated parent also having an incarcerated child.

The current study found that the majority of the demographic variables (gender, race, and marital status) were significant predictors of child incarceration. Furthermore, only a few risk factors were found to be significant predictors of an inmate’s child being incarcerated: an inmate having two or more prior incarcerations; an inmate’s illegal drug abuse; and an inmate having a parent who was incarcerated. This latter finding was particularly encouraging because this final variable represented a primary objective of this thesis: to determine whether there was any support for the existence of an intergenerational cycle of incarceration.

Given the results in the final model of the logistic regression, future rsearch should delve more deeply not only into the relationship between the incarcerated parent and their children, but also the relationship between the children of the inmate and the crimes that resulted in their incarceration.

Detailed information on this could produce a clearer picture of additional reasons or causes for the incarceration of inmates’ children.



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