Father Absence and Incarceration

Propaganda -- Children growing up without a father in the home are more than twice as likely to end up in jail.

Fact: Children growing up without a father in the home are many times more likely to have had a father who spent time in prison. That's why he was "absent".

[Statistics suck, don't they. In addition, according to a report in the New York Times, a study among 1,000 girls in detention in Alameda, Los Angeles, San Diego and Marin counties, revealed that 54 percent of their mothers and 46 percent of their fathers had been locked up, indicating that the greatest predictor of criminality in girls is having a parent who has been incarcerated. (Kind of bodes against all those fatherhood programs who want to inject criminals into the life of yet more kids, doesn't it.) ]

Fact: The most significant predictor of criminality is having a parent or other close relative who exhibits anti-social behavior or has been incarcerated.

DiLalla, L. F., & Gottesman, I. I. (1989). Heterogeneity of causes for delinquency and criminality: Lifespan perspectives. Development & Psychopathology, 1 (4), 339-349.

Fact: "Taking all the evidence together, marital discord has a stronger relation with delinquency and aggression than parental absence."

Loeber, R. and Stouthamer-Loeber, M. (1986) 'Family factors as correlated and predictors of juvenile conduct problems and delinquency', in: M. Tonry and N. Morris (Eds.) Crime and Justice: An Annual Review of Research, Vol.7, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, p. 77-78

Comment: "The single greatest predictor of who will wind up in prison is whether his father was in prison."

Ivins, Molly, column August 30, 2000, re Bureau of Justic Statistics, commenting on the astounding growth of the Texas prison population. [email protected]

Myth -- Juvenile delinquency is caused by "fatherlessness."

Fact: "Studies have shown repeatedly a consistent relationship between juvenile delinquency and large family size, marital disharmony, alcohol abuse in parents and overall social deprivation. A consistent relationship has also been shown with delayed reading age, below average scores on intelligence and achievement tests, conduct disorder of childhood and parental aggressive behaviour."

Kelly, Mary, Bernadette Mackey, and Michael Fitzgerald, A TEN-YEAR DESCRIPTIVE FOLLOW-UP STUDY OF 50 DELINQUENT BOYS, British Journal of Clinical and Social Psychiatry,April 1999, Vol. 10 (1999) , no.1

Fact: "[As of 1999] the nation's crime rates have dropped for the seventh straight year... arrests for serious and violent crimes dropped 5.4% from last year and 12% from the previous year. In addition, the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports for 1998 indicates that the reduction in crime is a national phenomenon; it is lower in every region of the United States."

Propaganda in action -- Seventy percent of men currently incarcerated in prison grew up in a "fatherless home."

Fact: Seventy percent of men currently incarcerated in prison also are not "caucasion." (Would you also be implying that there is some kind of cause-and-effect relationship between skin color and proclivity for law-breaking? Or is it only politically correct these days to to bash women?)

Bureau of Justice Statistics 1994, Corrections Compendium, and The Sentencing Project.

You can read more at the Liz Library.

This is another major father supremacy claim
Most jailbird children come from single mother households
Maybe they should consider saying
Like father, like son

No, I'm sorry, scratch that. I'd hate for any child to think that he is destined to be like his delinquent gene pool. In fact, I've stated this before:
...Patriarchal views teach us that there is only one functional family structure, so kids growing up thinking that their families are pathological:

"You ain't got no daddy?" "You ain't gon' be shit, just like yo' daddy!"

You keep telling a child that and it insults the child's self-esteem. The child begins to believe that something is wrong...creating a problem where one may not have existed.

What's wrong with changing the thinking to help children appreciate what they do have and give existing families what they need to rise above the adversity? Why can't we stop putting children down because of the apparent deficiencies of their parents? Having NO father isn't the worst thing in the world...
I want children to become what they wish to become, not what society or stats tell them.

0 advocates for peace: