Mental Health Service Needs in the Prison Boom: The Case of Children of Incarcerated Mothers

Jillian J. Turanovic, Nancy Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This study identifies the factors related to mental health service use among children of incarcerated mothers. Data on 700 children collected from a diverse sample of mothers in Arizona are used, and a two-stage probit model with sample selection is estimated to assess the various child, mother, and caregiver characteristics associated with children’s use of mental health services. Results indicate that children involved in child protective services (CPS) and children cared for by grandparents are more likely to receive mental health services, whereas children of Native American mothers and children who have been exposed to violence are less likely to receive services for their mental health needs. These findings have important implications for correctional policy regarding the intake screening of female inmates and suggest that criminal justice agencies communicate more closely with CPS and community-based services to ensure children’s mental health needs are addressed while their mothers are in prison.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-436
Number of pages22
JournalCriminal Justice Policy Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • children of incarcerated mothers
  • mental health services
  • parental incarceration
  • unintended consequences
  • unmet needs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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