A FAMILY LAW PERSPECTIVE ON PARENTAL INCARCERATION

Authors


sarahabramowicz@gmail.com

Abstract

This Article proposes bringing the perspective of family law to bear on the problem of parental incarceration. Sentencing law is in flux, making this an opportune time to reconsider whether and to what extent we should take children's interests into account when sentencing parents. The Article reframes the debate about parental incarceration by viewing it in light of family law's insights about how children develop into their adult selves. The Article formulates a new rationale for considering children's interests when incarcerating their parents, and it offers a method of incorporating such interests that will further both the goals and the legitimacy of criminal law.

Key Points for the Family Court Community:

  • Family law can help us to understand the extent of developmental harm that parental incarceration can inflict on a child.
  • The future of criminal sentencing law is now uncertain, making this an important time for the family court community to bring its perspective to bear on the question of whether courts should take children's interests into account when incarcerating parents.

Ancillary