If you’re charged with a crime in Massachusetts, and have children, you should think about how that process affects more than just yourself. Many people in this state wind up needing a Boston Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer, for a wide variety of criminal charges. They may need a Dedham sex crimes attorney; or a Wrentham assault & battery lawyer, or an Attleboro drug offense attorney. As awful as winding up in jail or prison is for defendants themselves, a new study says that it’s even worse for the children of convicted defendants. No surprise there. But does that fact serve as a deterrent to a lot of would-be criminal defendants? To people who are otherwise law-abiding citizens? Yes. But not to the hard-core ones (gang members, etc.)
A recent study by the University of California-Irvine has found that prison is extremely bad for children whose parents are incarcerated, as it (quite obviously) affects their emotional development and physical health as they grow up. The study is to be published in September 2014 issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. In fact, the study points out that having a parent in prison may be even more harmful to children than having their parents get a divorce or die.
In addition, the study compared children who have an incarcerated parent to other children with similar socioeconomic characteristics and demographics. It found that children who had a parent in prison were associated with having behavioral problems such learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and even speech and language problems. The obvious culprits? Mental and economic stress.
As a Boston criminal defense attorney, I can attest that the facts outlined in this study are all too true. Children who have incarcerated parents suffer enormously, and have emotional problems that can range from fear of abandonment to scarcity mentalities, to fear of unpredictability. I think it’s also true that the children of repeat offenders who get arrested over and over again, but don’t wind up in prison, also experience excessive trauma.
If you have children, think twice before committing a Massachusetts criminal offense – for the sake of your kids.