The relationship between re-incarceration and their own childhood foster care experience of women

Haeil Jung, Robert LaLonde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Using matched state administrative records of women in the Illinois state prison system, we investigate whether incarcerated women with foster care experience during their early (aged 10 to 14) and late (aged 15 to 18) teens do better or worse in re-incarceration rates compared to female counterparts who went to prison but had no foster care experience. We find that women with the early-teen foster care experience have higher rates of re-incarceration than women without foster care, regardless of whether they were reunited with their parents. The adverse association between the first foster care placement during early-teens and re-incarceration is particularly stronger among former female inmates with low education or history of drug addiction than others. We conclude that incarcerated women with foster care experiences, especially in their early teens, need more attention and extra support from the appropriate institutions upon their release. In addition, it seems that foster care can work as a strong signal of possible re-incarceration among women with low education and history of drug addiction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-48
Number of pages9
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research has been supported by the Chicago Community Trust , the National Institute of Justice , the Russell Sage Foundation , the Open Society Foundations , and by Grant 02-DB-BX-0017 , awarded to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice . We have benefited from comments by Henry Brady, Robert George, Susan George, Marilyn Moses, and Anne Powell, and participants in the Center for Human Potential and Public Policy and the Incarcerated Women and Their Children workshops at the University of Chicago, and participants at the National Institute of Justice Conference, July 17 to 19, 2006 in Washington D.C. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of the National Institute of Justice or any agency of the State of Illinois. The authors are responsible for all errors.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Early teens
  • Foster care
  • Late teens
  • Previously incarcerated women
  • Re-incarceration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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