How does the criminal justice system affect children with parents who are incarcerated?
- Discussion of how your inquiry now impacts your thinking.
I have always been interested in my topic because of my hope to pursue a career in law and the criminal justice system. This topic also resonated a lot with me because I have a absent parent. I related a lot towards the side of absence more long term because I have not seen my mother in over 9 years. Because of the absence of my mother I live with my father and my grandparents. While doing my research I found that a lot of children that are separated from a parent because of incarceration do not have another positive parental influence and it impacted my thinking by having a greater appreciation for my father and my grandparents. I have six half siblings on the side of my mother, and though I do not have contact with them, I’m aware that most were put into foster care. Throughout my collection of research, I found that a large portion of these children with incarcerated parents are put into foster care or have been forced to live with a guardian. These rounds have helped me create a larger understanding of the criminal justice system and its affect on criminals and innocent people.
- How will this investigation impact the decisions you make.
During this investigation I have discovered that the criminal justice system affects everyone even those who are not criminals. The actions of those who are incarcerated affect their loved ones around and can their choices can gravely affect the lives of others. While researching the daily life and routine of someone that is incarcerated, assisted me in recognizing how lonely and unpleasant these penitentiaries can be. This impacts my decision by assuring me to stay on the right path. My investigation intrigued me more towards the criminal justice system and the way a jury or a judge comes to the conclusion of a specific punishment and I find it very fascinating how a specific person can hold the future of another human being. Having a parent in prison can have an impact on a child’s mental health, social behavior, and educational prospects. Children of incarcerated parents may also be more likely to have faced other adverse childhood experiences, including witnessing violence in their communities or directly in their household or exposure to drug and alcohol abuse also resulting in these aspects continuing on in their own future. Though my mother struggled with drug abuse, hearing these facts produces a strong dedication to avert from drug activity.
- Describe the broader impacts this new knowledge might have on others locally
Incarceration has become a large problem in our society today. This finding is troubling because incarceration has increased over the last four decades due to mandatory minimums and the war on drugs. Specifically, there has been a 500 percent increase in the number of inmates over the last 40 years. With the more people being incarcerated the more people are being affect especially family members and children. These children that have their parents ripped away from them are left alone and helpless. In most situations of incarceration it is positive to have the negative authority removed from their lives but I believe that this influence needs to be replaced with something helpful and optimistic. The impact this knowledge has on our community is hopefully to help people have a better understand of the life of a child with a parent in jail. In my mind with this research it constructs a desire for more support systems for this specific situation. Though there are many negative aspects to the criminal justice system I believe that with help and support from positive influencers these affects on children can be diminished and transformed into a more constructive outcome and I hope this investigation will help others give that support.
- Discussion of the challenges you faced during the project and a description of how you overcame these challenges
During my first round my research was not difficult but as I progressed through the later rounds it became harder to get information that was relevant and interesting for my topic. I found it difficult to create smaller questions concerning the larger main question without straying too far from the principle idea. My third round was probably the most difficult and took more time to find questions that were pertinent to my research, once I found a compelling concept it was easier to create new ideas and new questions. Questions and opinions from my peers also helped me understand what others thought was interesting or things others would like to know. During my third round my research was very similar to research I had previously done in my first round and I wanted to research something new and interesting. Once I created simple questions like, how do children visit incarcerated parents? It helped me find deeper questions like, should children visit incarcerated parents? Is it harmful for children mentally to visit a parent who are incarcerated? These were some of my favourite questions that I think added a lot to my research.