Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Criminal Justice (M.S.)

Degree Program

School of Criminal Justice

First Advisor

John P. Walsh

Second Advisor

Christopher Kierkus

Third Advisor

Jaclyn Cwick

Academic Year



Current research has found the impact of incarceration to be far reaching. Families, especially children, often experience the most strain and disadvantage as a result of a parent’s incarceration. This effect can carry into the adult years and influence economic, educational, and behavioral health outcomes. The present study investigates the effect of having a parent or stepparent incarcerated on behavioral and psychological inmate adjustment to the prison environment. Using secondary data from a national data sample of 14,499 inmates, behavioral and psychological adjustment to the prison environment was measured. Results showed no significant effect of second generation prison status on inmate adjustment. Results did indicate that being male is associated with an increase on both the psychological and behavioral adjustment scale that is more than twice that of females. Inmates that had a previous incarceration showed a decrease on both the psychological and behavioral adjustment scales. A violent offense was associated with an increase on the psychological adjustment scale. Current research and opportunities for future research are discussed.

Included in

Criminal Law Commons