The consequences of sibling criminal legal system contact for family life

To consider whether one sibling's criminal legal system contact influences another's material conditions, social support, and mental health and behavioral problems.
Sibling criminal:- To consider whether one sibling's criminal legal system contact influences another's material conditions, social support, and mental health and behavioral problems. [Pixabay]
Sibling criminal:- To consider whether one sibling's criminal legal system contact influences another's material conditions, social support, and mental health and behavioral problems. [Pixabay]

Sibling criminal:- To consider whether one sibling's criminal legal system contact influences another's material conditions, social support, and mental health and behavioral problems.

Background

Sibling incarceration is both the most common form of familial incarceration in the United States, with more than one in four Americans reporting ever experiencing this event, and highly unequally distributed. Despite how prevalent and unequally distributed sibling criminal legal system contact is, little research considers the consequences of that event for family life. This study seeks to partially fill that gap by testing whether and how a sibling's criminal legal system contact is associated with changes in the material conditions, social support, and wellbeing of caregivers and other children.

Method

Using data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, the authors estimate hierarchical linear models to consider the relationship between sibling criminal legal system contact and three core indicators of familial and child wellbeing: familial (1) social support and (2) material insecurity, and (3) child wellbeing, as indicated by behavioral and mental health problems using validated scales.

Results

Sibling criminal legal system contact is associated with a reduction in the wellbeing of other children and contributes to declines in familial social support and material security.

Conclusion

Taken together, the results suggest that a sibling's criminal legal system contact can disrupt home life for siblings and families alike, highlighting yet another way that mass criminalization may imperil families and children. Newswise/SP

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