African American fathers: Disproportionate incarceration and the meaning of involvement

Robert H. Keefe, Sandra D. Lane, Robert A. Rubinstein, Darlene Carter, Timothy Bryant, Mark D. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Impoverished and African American fathers are often criticized by policy makers for lack of involvement in their children's lives. These criticisms are limited to defining responsible fatherhood as providing economic support while ignoring other forms of nurturing. Recent studies provide a broader perspective on how impoverished and African American fathers nurture their children. This article analyzes data from five studies carried out in Syracuse, New York, between 1996 and 2011. The studies support the contention that structural violence, inherent in the disproportionate incarceration of African American fathers, is a critical factor impeding the fathers from fulfilling their paternal roles. We discuss policy issues affecting incarcerated fathers that limit the extent to which they are able to bond with their children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-96
Number of pages8
JournalFamilies in Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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