SMHs

Fatherless Children Are Eight Times More Likely to Be Imprisoned

The second column below is the type of families which prison inmates grew up in, the third column is the percent of family types ten to twenty years ago when they were growing up, and the fourth column is Percent in Prison divided by Percent of Households, or Relative Risk.

 Type of Household Percent of Prison Population Percent of All Households Relative Risk Single-Father Households 0.5% 4 .12 Two-Parent Families 11% 58 .19 Joint Custody Households 12% 17 .71 Fatherless Households 76.5% 20 3.8

Fatherless Households include never married single mothers, divorced and not remarried single mothers, step-father households, and foster homes.

Children who grew up in fatherless households are 20 times more likely to be imprisoned than children who grew up in families, and 32 times more likely than children who grew up in Father-only households.

The seven-fold increase in fatherlessness caused a quintupling of the prison population rate in the last four decades. A reduction in the rate of fatherlessness would significantly reduce the incarceration rate. For example, assuming the relationship between the fatherlessness rate and the incarceration rate is a constant and that there are no other variables:

1. A reduction in the % of "Fatherless Households" from 21% to 10.5%, and a corresponding increase in the % of "Two-Parent Homes" from 62% to 73.5%, would reduce the Relative Risk of 30% of the prison population from 2.86 to .32. If the prison population is 1.5 million, and if 30% or 450,000 would have been 2.86/.32 = 8.94 less likely to have been in prison, then the number of inmates would have been 399,664 lower.
2. A reduction in the % of "Fatherless Households" from 21% to 10.5%, and a corresponding increase in the % of "Single-Father Homes" from 6% to 17.5% would reduce the Relative Risk of 30% of the prison population from 2.86 to .17. If the prison population is 1.5 million, and if 30% or 450,000 would have been 2.86/.17 = 16.8 less likely to have been in prison, then the number of inmates would have been 423,215 lower.