UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Food Security in the Context of Paternal Incarceration: Family Impact Perspectives Davison, Karen M.; D’Andreamatteo, Carla; Markham, Sabina; Holloway, Clifford; Marshall, Gillian; Smye, Victoria L.


Although research about the unintended consequences of paternal incarceration for family well-being has grown in recent years, there has been minimal exploration of food insecurity. Using qualitative methods, we aimed to understand the relationships between paternal incarceration and family food insecurity in Canada. An ethnographic study (24 months) was conducted that included naturalistic observation and in-depth interviews with formerly incarcerated fathers, their partners, and societal reintegration-focused stakeholders (n = 63). Interpretive thematic analysis based on family impact and intersectional theories, indicated that family food insecurity was elucidated by pre-incarceration, economic, social, health, and relationship factors; stigma and social/structural constraints; and intersections among individual, correctional system, community, and macro-level (i.e., economic, social, policy, physical contexts) factors. Participatory approaches and collaborative action among diverse stakeholders that include practitioners, policy makers, researchers, as well as health, social, and criminal justice agencies can guide best practices in creating supportive food environments for families impacted by adversities of incarceration. In particular, interventions aimed at prescriptive ethics, social justice, and meaningful rehabilitation show promise at mitigating the collateral consequences of incarceration-related food insecurity.

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