•  
  •  
 

Keywords

correctional education, family literacy, incarcerated parents, literacy, reading

Abstract

In response to rising parental incarceration, some correctional facilities and outside organizations offer family literacy programs for parents in prison. However, research on these correctional education initiatives is scant. This paper uses qualitative data to analyze how 11 fathers in a rural Pennsylvania prison were involved in their children’s literacy, learning, and education before and during incarceration and through the Read to Your Child/Grandchild (RYCG) program. Before RYCG, most fathers had taken steps such as reading to children, teaching reading and math, attending parent-teacher conferences, helping with homework, and singing and rhyming—and then sought to continue supporting their children’s learning from within prison. Fathers used RYCG materials (video-recorded book reading, children’s book, scrapbook) to emphasize the importance of education, literacies, and numeracy. They also created personalized scrapbooks that cultivated their children’s literate abilities and cognitive, academic, and socio-emotional development. This research contributes to the nascent literature on family literacy for incarcerated parents.

Author Bio

Esther Prins is a Professor in the Lifelong Learning and Adult Education Program at Penn State, where she also serves as Co-Director of the Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy and the Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy (ISAL). Her research focuses on sociocultural and critical approaches to adult and family literacy and the role of adult education in social justice.

Tabitha Stickel is a Ph.D. candidate in the Lifelong Learning and Adult Education Program at Penn State and a graduate assistant with the Goodling Institute. She holds an Ed.M. in Adult Learning and Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, and has taught adult basic education in Arizona.

Dr. Anna Kaiper-Marquez is the Associate Director of Goodling Institute and ISAL and an Assistant Teaching Professor at Penn State. Her research centers on adult basic education (ABE), English language learning, and qualitative methodologies and she has previously taught ABE and ESL both nationally and internationally.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

References

Blumberg, D. M., & Griffin, D. A. (2013). Family connections: The importance of prison reading programs for incarcerated parents and their children. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 52(4), 254-269.

Brown, A. (2017). Portrait of the incarcerated woman as a reading mother: Revealing the perceived outcomes of a shared reading program (Unpublished master’s thesis). Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2019a). Prisoners in 2017 (NCJ 252156). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.

Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2019b). Jail inmates in 2017 (NCJ 251774). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.

Bus, A. G., Van Ijzendoorn, M. H., & Pellegrini, A. D. (1995). Joint book reading makes for success in learning to read: A meta-analysis on intergenerational transmission of literacy. Review of Educational Research, 65(1), 1-21.

Clymer, C., Toso, B. W., Grinder, E., & Sauder, R. P. (2017). Changing the course of family literacy. University Park, PA: Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy Institute for Research in Family Literacy. https://ed.psu.edu/goodling-institute/policy/changing-the-course-of-family-literacy

Collica- Cox, K. & Furst, G. (2018). Implementing successful jail-based programming for women: A case study of planning parenting, prison and pups – Waiting to “let the dogs in.” Journal of Prison Education and Reentry, 5(2), 101-119.

Conway, J. M., & Jones, E. T. (2015). Seven out of ten? Not even close: A review of research on the likelihood of children with incarcerated parents becoming justice-involved. New Britain, CT: National Institute of Corrections, Central Connecticut State University.

Crain-Thoreson, C., & Dale, P. S. (1999). Enhancing linguistic performance: Parents and teachers as book reading partners for children with language delays. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 19(1), 28-39.

DeHart, D., Shapiro, C., & Hardin, J. (2017). The impact of incarceration on families: A single- jurisdiction pilot study using triangulated administrative data & qualitative interviews. Summary overview. NCJRS 250657. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/250657.pdf

Desforges, C., & Abouchaar, A. (2003). The impact of parental involvement, parental support and family education on pupil achievement and adjustment: A literature review (Vol. 433). Nottingham, UK: DfES Publications.

Dunst, C. J., Jones, T., Johnson, M., Raab, M., & Hamby, D. W. (2011). Role of children’s interests in early literacy and language development. CELLreviews, 4(5), 1-18. Retrieved from http://www.earlyliteracylearning.org/cellreviews/cellreviews_v4_n5.pdf

Finlay, J. (2014). A comparative study of family literacy programmes in UK and US Prison Libraries (Unpublished master’s thesis). University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England.

Gadsden, V., Muth, W., Davis, J. E., Jacobs, C., Edwards, M., LaPoint, V., & Slaughter-Defoe, D. (2005). Children of incarcerated parents: The implications of parent absence for children’s lives at school and home. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Education Research Association, Montreal, Canada.

Gardner, S. (2015). Reading Unites Families: An interactive literacy program for incarcerated fathers and their children. Corrections Today. Retrieved from: http://www.aca.org/aca_prod_imis/Docs/Corrections%20Today/2015%20Articles/March%202015/Garder.pdf

Geller, A., Cooper, C. E., Garfinkel, I., Schwartz-Soicher, O., & Mincy, R. B. (2012). Beyond absenteeism: Father incarceration and child development. Demography, 49(1), 49-76.

Genisio, M. H. (1999). A partnership model: Linking literacy to the needs of children and their incarcerated fathers. Presented at the Eighth Annual National Conference on Family Literacy, Louisville, KY.

Glaze, L. E., & Maruschak, L. M. (2008). Parents in prison and their minor children. NCJ 222984. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/pptmc.pdf

Gostin, L.O., Vanchieri, C., Pope, A. (2007). Ethical considerations for research involving prisoners. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Ethical Considerations for Revisions to DHHS Regulations for Protection of Prisoners Involved in Research. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19885/

Gotsch, K. (2018, April 24). Families and mass incarceration. The Sentencing Project. Retrieved from: https://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/6148/

Hagan, J., & Foster, H. (2012). Children of the American prison generation: Student and school spillover effects of incarcerating mothers. Law & Society Review, 46(1), 37-69.

Haskins, A. R. (2014). Unintended consequences: Effects of paternal incarceration on child school readiness and later special education placement. Sociological Science, 1, 141-158.

Higgins, N. (2013). Family literacy on the inside. Public Libraries, 52, 30-35.

Hudson River Center for Program Development (2001). Bringing family literacy to incarcerated settings: An instructional guide. From incarceration to productive lifestyle. Glenmont, NY: Author. Retrieved from: http://en.copian.ca/library/research/hudson/bringing/bringing.pdf

Johnston, D. (2012). Services for children of incarcerated parents. Family Court Review, 50, 91-105.

Kamptner, N.L., Teyber, F.H., Rockwood, N.J., & Drzewiecki, D. (2017). Evaluating the efficacy of an attachment-informed psychotherapeutic program for incarcerated parents. Journal of Prison Education and Reentry, 4(2), 62-81.

Lieberson, S., & Mikelson, K. S. (1995). Distinctive African American names: An experimental, historical, and linguistic analysis of innovation. American Sociological Review, 60, 928-946.

Martin, E. (2017). Hidden consequences: The impact of incarceration on dependent children. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice. Retrieved from: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/250349.pdf

Mathison, S. (1988). Why triangulate?. Educational Researcher, 17(2), 13-17.

Minnesota Department of Corrections (2011). The effects of prison visitation on offender recidivism (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Department of Corrections. Retrieved from: https://nicic.gov/effects-prison-visitation-offender-recidivism

Muth, W. R. (2006). Intergenerational literacy programs for incarcerated parents and their families: A review of the literature. Richmond, VA: Virginia Commonwealth University.

Muth, W. R. (2018). Fathers, prisons, and family reentry: Presencing as a framework and method. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Nutbrown, C., Clough, P., Stammers, L., Emblin, N., & Alston-Smith, S. (2019). Family literacy in prisons: Fathers’ engagement with their young children. Research Papers in Education, 34(2), 169-191.

Paratore, J. (2001). Opening doors, opening opportunities: Family literacy in an urban community. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Patton, M. Q. (2015). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. (2013). ‘Read to Your Child/Grandchild’ program returns. Retrieved from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/read-to-your-childgrandchild-program-returns-202347151.html

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC). (2018). Children of incarcerated parents. Retrieved from https://www.cor.pa.gov/family-and-friends/Pages/Children-of-Incarcerated-Parents.aspx

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC). (2019a). For family and friends. https://www.cor.pa.gov/family-and-friends/Pages/default.aspx

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC). (2019b). FAQ – New Procedures. https://www.cor.pa.gov/Initiatives/Pages/FAQ-New-Procedures.aspx

Quinn-Kong, E. (2018, August). This Texas organization uses books to reconnect female prison inmates with their children. Woman’s Day. Retrieved from https://www.womansday.com/life/inspirational-stories/a22553956/womens-storybook-project-inmate-program/

Rabuy, B. & Kopf, D. (2015). Separation by bars and miles: Visitation in state prisons. Prison Policy Initiative. Retrieved from: https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/prisonvisits.html

Salkind, N. J. (Ed.). (2010). Encyclopedia of research design (Vol. 1). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

St Jean, B. (2013). Participant reactivity in a longitudinal mixed-method study of the information behavior of people with type 2 diabetes: Research validity vs. street validity. In Proceedings of the 76th ASIS&T Annual Meeting: Beyond the Cloud: Rethinking Information Boundaries, 50(1), 1-10. American Society for Information Science. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/meet.14505001063/full

The Sentencing Project. (2018). Report to the United Nations of Racial Disparities in the U.S. Criminal Justice System. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from: https://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/un-report-on-racial-disparities/

Troy, V., McPherson, K. E., Emslie, C., & Gilchrist, E. (2018). The feasibility, appropriateness, meaningfulness, and effectiveness of parenting and family support programs delivered in the criminal justice system: A systematic review. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27(6), 1732-1747.

Wasik, B. H. (Ed.) (2012). Handbook of family literacy (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Whitehurst, G. J., & Lonigan, C. J. (1998). Child development and emergent literacy. Child Development, 69(3), 848-872.

Wolcott, H. F. (1999). Ethnography: A way of seeing. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.

Zoukis, C. (2017). Parents in prison read to children to boost literacy and connection. Huff Post. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/parents-in-prison-read-to-children-to-boost-literacy_b_58f8fdfbe4b0de26cfeae1b7

First Page

168

Last Page

188

Share

COinS