Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Wendy Luttrell

Committee Members

David Connor

Michelle Fine

Subject Categories

Disability and Equity in Education | Disability Studies | Early Childhood Education | Education | Secondary Education | Social Work | Special Education and Teaching | Teacher Education and Professional Development


children of incarcerated parents, mass incarceration, equity, teacher education, prison reform, school to prison pipeline


As 2.2 million individuals in the United States are currently incarcerated and an additional 5 million are under some form of correctional surveillance, the push for prison reform has reached new heights. Intimately and inextricably connected to mass incarceration and the push for its reform (and in some cases abolition) are the children have been impacted by incarceration. About half of the individuals currently incarcerated are parents to at least one child under the age of 18. Current estimates suggest that 2.7 million children currently have an incarcerated parent and that 10 million children in the United States have experienced parental incarceration at some point during their lives. Once deemed an “invisible” population, children of incarcerated parents have recently received more attention in academic literature. However, much of the current literature on this population fails to include their voices and presents them at risk for a variety of adverse childhood outcomes, further perpetuating the deeply ingrained negative view of incarcerated individuals and their families. Aiming to join a growing body of inclusive, authentic and asset based research, this study seeks to work in collaboration with children of incarcerated parents to highlight their story and provide insight into the experiences that are important to them and the worlds they occupy.