Year of Graduation


Document Type




Directing Professor

Dr. Bonnie Bowers


The number of incarcerations has been climbing drastically, especially in the United States. A forgotten minority which remains understudied is those children of incarcerated individuals. Many studies have found parental separation to be associated with problematic behavior in children. However, little to no information is known on the attitudes of offspring of incarcerated people toward law enforcement and the police. The current study examined just this, researching children of incarcerated parents’ attitudes towards legitimacy and confidence in the police during adulthood. Participants (N = 55) were undergraduate students at a small university who gained extra credit for voluntary participation. The results of this study found significant effects caused by parental incarceration as a child to lead to a rise in negative attitudes towards law enforcement, both in confidence as well as legitimacy in the police.