Parents in Prison: An Examination of Parental Incarceration in the State of Vermont

Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

College of Arts and Science Honors, Honors College

First Advisor

Kathryn Fox

Second Advisor

Teresa Mares

Third Advisor

Alice Fothergill


Parental Incarceration, Vermont, Correctional System, Children of inmates


The purpose of this thesis is to explore the way in which parental incarceration is handled in the state of Vermont. Data was gathered through a series of in depth interviews with individuals working in a professional capacity with incarcerated parents and their children. Using the inductive methodology of grounded theory, themes emerged from the data. This study details the consequences of parental incarceration as well as the cited benefits of contact between inmates and their families and children during incarceration. This study determines that there are a number of aspects to best practice regarding programming and policy for incarcerated parents and their children. These include valuing the parent-child relationship, looking to ease the impact of parental incarceration, and ensuring programming is implemented by educated professionals with a trusting partnership with the Department of Corrections using community standards. This study concludes that the reality of the way the system handles incarcerated parents does not match up with ideal practices, because of a combination of inadequate resources, unsupportive beliefs about inmates, and a fundamental divide between the correctional system and social services.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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