Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Janice Girardi, Ed.D.

Second Supervisor

Greta Strong, Ed.D


The purpose of this study was to understand and explore, through a qualitative phenomenological design, the lived parental experiences of incarcerated fathers in a Northeastern New York jail. For this research, an incarcerated father will be defined as a father who has a child 18 years or younger and is confined to a jail. This research project sought to gain knowledge in this area, and this study’s results will inform policymakers who create policies and programs that may address the sustainability and development of an incarcerated father’s parental identity. The study population comprised of nine incarcerated fathers, between the ages of 20 to 37, who were currently incarcerated in a New York jail. Data from semi-structured interviews with these fathers revealed 14 themes: parenting/caregiver, family engagement, roles and responsibility, reflection and trauma, identity management, survival, engagement, staying connected, inability to interact physically, staying present, family collaboration breakdown, economic and mental strain, goals and aspirations, and availability. The themes were grouped into five categories and were used to analyze the results from the research questions and the findings. The categories are internalized, significant behaviors, self-appraisal of behaviors, disruption to the family unit, and reestablishing parental identity. The results from the study identify several recommendations for practice, including one-on-one counseling with certified professionals, protection of in-person visits, rehabilitative programs to help incarcerated fathers transition back into society, and electronic record software. These recommendations can be utilized by scholars, public officials, policymakers, mental health professionals, informed trauma care, the criminal justice system, and the Department of Corrections in improving the experiences and outcomes for incarcerated fathers and their family dynamics.

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