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The Reproduction of Social Disadvantage Through Educational Demobilization: A Critical Analysis of Parental Incarceration

Abstract

The focus of this study concerns the intergenerational consequences of the era of mass incarceration and its role in promoting an educational demobilization of primarily marginalized groups. Using the Howard B. Kaplan Multigenerational and Longitudinal data set, this article links incarceration in the first generation to educational experiences of the second generation at two stages in the life course: adolescence (N = 1303) and emerging adulthood (N = 1621). Intergenerational theories of strain and stigma are argued to be mechanisms in the transmission of reduced educational success and attainment among the second generation. The findings reveal that children of once incarcerated parents are significantly more likely to report that they are experiencing unhappiness in school and have significantly lower levels of educational success than their counterparts not experiencing parental incarceration. Due to these outcomes, I argue that the reproduction of disadvantage produced by the intergenerational effects of parental incarceration will linger in society even with a reduction of incarcerated populations. The need for understanding the intergenerational implications of mass incarceration among disadvantaged populations is discussed.

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Correspondence to Marcus Shaw.

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Shaw, M. The Reproduction of Social Disadvantage Through Educational Demobilization: A Critical Analysis of Parental Incarceration. Crit Crim 27, 275–290 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10612-018-09427-3

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