Rights of Incarcerated Parents

Rights of Incarcerated Parents

Angelica Chazaro, University of Washington School of Law

"This Chapter was written by Angélica Cházaro based in part on previous versions by Valentina Morales, Kai-lin Hsu, and Lisa Rios." Professor Cházaro authored this same chapter in the 9th and 10th editions.

The 2017 version of this chapter is available online.


This chapter discusses the childcare and custody rights of incarcerated parents. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an estimated 809,800 state and federal prisoners were parents to children under the age of eighteen in 2007. There are approximately 1,706,600 children under the age of eighteen who have a parent in prison.

As a parent in prison, you may fear that your child will not be cared for, that you will lose your child, or that your relationship with your child will suffer while you are incarcerated. This Chapter focuses on New York state law and describes how the law provides parents in prison with various tools to prevent these things from happening.