Children of Incarcerated Parents: The Child’s Constitutional Right to the Family Relationship
42 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2010 Last revised: 10 Jul 2011
Date Written: July 22, 2010
This Article describes the vast population of children with incarcerated parents. The central argument reframes sentencing law and prison visitation policy through the lens of children’s rights, rather than the traditional frame of prisoners’ rights. It then suggests as a possible legal basis for children's right to a relationship with their convicted parents the First Amendment freedom of association and a due process liberty interest. The argument is developed through comparative analysis of current sentencing law and visitation policy in New York State and the federal system, as well as First Amendment doctrinal analysis. International law and practice illustrate that the status quo in the United States need not be the only approach.
Keywords: Children, Prison, First Amendment, Sentencing
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