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Abstract

This Note seeks to understand how people in prison may lose their parental rights as a result of their incarceration, despite long-established Fourteenth Amendment doctrine protecting family integrity and the ability to care for one's children. Focusing on New York State as a case study, I argue that parents in prison are governed by an alternative, social-welfare family law regime in which aggressive state interference is normalized and constitutional protections of liberty and privacy do not fully apply. I suggest that by exposing this approach as harmful to children, advocates for incarcerated parents can take a step towards bridging the two family law paradigms and bringing greater recognition to the rights of incarcerated parents and their families.

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