Two percent of the nation's 72 million children--1.5 million youngsters--had a parent in prison in 1999, according to statistics released in August by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Most of those children were younger than 10; the average age was 8.
The bureau also found that:
93 percent of imprisoned parents were male.
90 percent of fathers in state prisons said at least one of their children was living with the child's mother.
28 percent of imprisoned mothers said the father was the current caregiver.
57 percent of imprisoned fathers and 54 percent of imprisoned mothers said they'd never had a personal visit with their children since entering prison.
The percentage of black children with an imprisoned parent was nearly nine times greater than that of white children; the percentage for Hispanic children was about three times greater than that of white children.
60 percent of parents in state prisons said they'd used drugs in the month before arrest.
14 percent of parents in prison said they had a mental illness.
70 percent of incarcerated parents didn't have a high school diploma.
18 percent of imprisoned mothers and 8 percent of fathers were homeless before entering prison.