Many researchers have argued that an inmate’s relationship with their family is an important determinant of their behavior while incarcerated and their success in the community upon release from prison. Nevertheless, no research of which we are aware examines the impact of an inmate’s parental involvement on their perception of the punitiveness of prison while incarcerated or whether this impact varies between prisoners raised in rural or urban areas. The current study used exchange rates from more than 1200 incarcerated prisoners to examine this relationship. Our findings suggest that whether an inmate has a child has almost no impact on their perception of the punitiveness of prison, no matter whether the inmate was raised in a rural or urban area. The findings further suggest that the well-documented impact of age on perceived punitiveness of prison might be largely important among prisoners from rural areas. Implications for future research are also discussed.

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