Parental Incarceration Is Holding Our Schoolchildren Back

There is a heartbreaking correlation among two areas where Oklahoma ranks worst in the country: Adverse childhood experiences and incarceration.

Adverse childhood experiences – which include exposure to violence, neglect and abuse, parental incarceration and divorce – carry a devastating legacy of negative outcomes in adulthood, including chronic health problems, high-risk behaviors, even early death.

Tragically, Oklahoma leads the country in the number of adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs. Nearly half of the children in Oklahoma have experienced three or more significant traumatic events in their lives. The effects of trauma directly impede academic success for hundreds of thousands of our children due to their negative impact on the developing brain.


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