[Solution]Paternal Imprisonment: Does it Increase the Risk for Children to Develop Antisocial, Delinquent or Criminal Behaviour?

In the past decade, prisoner numbers have risen by 42 percent in Australia (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006). A pertinent implication of this is that, by…

In the past decade, prisoner numbers have risen by 42 percent in Australia (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006). A pertinent implication of this is that, by default, the number of families who are affected by the incarceration of a significant other also increases, leading one to consider the impact of incarceration on the families of prisoners. Of particular interest in the following essay is the impact of paternal imprisonment on children and, specifically, whether paternal incarceration increases the child’s risk of developing antisocial, delinquent or criminal behaviour as they mature. This essay will initially define some key terms central to the understanding the topic, including antisocial, delinquent, and criminal behaviour. The main part of the essay will then focus on the link between paternal imprisonment and the development of antisocial, delinquent and criminal behaviour in their children. This
will involve an in-depth examination of selected risk factors that have been linked with paternal incarceration, many of which arise as a consequence of paternal imprisonment and which impact the child both directly and indirectly. Specific topics to be discussed are (1) interruption of father-child attachment or bond and its implications; and (2) problematic parent practices due to temporary single parenthood and decreased coping ability of the remaining parent. Within the discussion of each of these topics empirical research will be utilised to shed light on the possible putative mechanisms and developmental pathways underlying intergenerational effects of paternal imprisonment. Cumulatively, it is intended that these areas of discussion will elucidate and support the argument that children of imprisoned fathers are indeed a vulnerable group at high risk of following antisocial, delinquent and criminal
pathways in life.

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