Sir.—We would like to call attention to the increasing number of children at high risk for behavioral and psychosocial problems—the children of prisoners. Our interest in these children was aroused because of the frequency of their appearance and similarity of their problems at our pediatric behavior problems clinic; of 243 children seen in our clinic in the past 4 years, 10 had fathers or mothers in prison. Children are referred to this once-weekly clinic for a variety of problems, most commonly school problems, enuresis, encopresis, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or oppositional/conduct disorders. The fact that the child's father or mother is in prison is often not known by the referring doctor.
These children face multiple difficulties.
1. The loss of financial and emotional support provided by the incarcerated parent may be great. Many of these children already lived in poverty.
2. The child may be stigmatized at school and in
MARSHALL WN, BINKIEWICZ AI, MATSON K, PULS T. Children of Prisoners. Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(8):902-903. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160200024014