Beyond the targeted casualties of the Drug War are the stories of the millions of others whose relationships are torn apart, and the “collateral” suffering of friends, partners, spouses, mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons.

Over half of incarcerated people have minor children, amounting to approximately 120,000 mothers and 1.1 million fathers.  Approximately 60 percent of incarcerated women have minor children.  Most are imprisoned for non-violent offenses, including many for drug crimes.

Approximately 2.7 million children are currently living with one or both parents incarcerated.  Over 11 percent of black children, almost 4 percent of Hispanic children, and nearly 2 percent of white children have at least one parent imprisoned.  Almost seven percent of children had a parent who was incarcerated at some point following their birth, or more than five million children as of 2011-12.

jackson family - 2016
Joe Jackson Family


Beth Curtis and John Knock

Sources and Links:

Parents in Prison and their Minor Children – Glaze and Maruschak (2010)

Collateral Costs- Incarceration and Upward Mobility – Pew Charitable Trusts (2010)

Parents Behind Bars – Murphey and Cooper (2015)