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A recently released report focused on the rapidly increasing number of children in the United States with a parent in jail or prison shows that Ohio has one of the highest rates in the nation. The report was issued by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and was published to bring attention to the damage that is done to children and communities when a child’s parent is sent to jail or prison.
The data examined for the report showed that over 5 million children in the United States have had a parent in jail or prison at some point in their childhood, and Ohio had some of the highest numbers in the nation in terms of both the number of children affected and the percentage of children that have had a parent in jail or prison.
California was the state that had the highest number of children with an incarcerated parent, with just over half a million children affected for the years 2011 and 2012. Ohio was fourth in the nation with 271,000 children who have had a parent in jail or prison at some point in their childhood. The total numbers are shocking, but the actual percentages of children who have dealt with an incarcerated parent are even more disturbing.
In Ohio, 10 percent of children in the state have faced having a parent in jail or prison at some point during their childhood. That percentage is the 3rd highest in the nation. The problem of children with incarcerated parents is centered in the Midwest- Kentucky has the highest rate in the nation at 13 percent, Indiana is second in the nation at 11 percent and Michigan is tied with Ohio at 10 percent.
The authors of the report argue the country’s focus on mass incarceration that has helped create this problem is “flawed, costly, and in need of change.” Among the suggestions they offer is the exploration of shorter sentences and alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent crimes. Kentucky is one state that has moved in that direction, instituting criminal justice reforms that include alternative sentencing for nonviolent crimes as a way to slow the growth of the state’s prison population.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation report found that the incarceration of a parent can be as damaging to a child as being a victim of abuse or domestic violence. In Ohio there are a wide variety of charges that carry mandatory terms in jail or prison, including some drug possession charges. So if you are facing charges that carry a mandatory jail term you need an experienced lawyer not only to defend yourself against the charges, but also to protect your family from the damage your incarceration could cause.
Luftman, Heck & Associates, our experienced Columbus criminal defense attorneys will explore every possible defense for our clients and strive to obtain the very best outcomes in their cases through creative and aggressive advocacy. We represent our clients on a wide variety of criminal charges, including drug possession and driving under the influence. Call us today at for a free and confidential consultation.