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Professor Rodriguez speaks at White House conference

Nancy Rodriguez, a professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, recently spoke at a one-day conference that examined how to improve outcomes for kids whose parents are in prison. The White House Office of Public Engagement invited Rodriguez because of a collaborative research project she leads.


Nancy Rodriguez, a professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, recently spoke at a one-day conference that examined how to improve outcomes for kids whose parents are in prison. The White House Office of Public Engagement invited Rodriguez because of a collaborative research project she leads.  The longitudinal study explores what happens to kids and their caregivers when mom or dad is locked up in prison.

Rodriguez focused her remarks on the important role caregivers play when one or both parents are serving time. She also talked about the trans-disciplinary approach of her project. It involves researchers from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, the College of Nursing and Health Innovations and the School of Social Work.

"I shared how we are working with various key stakeholders like the Governor’s Office, The Arizona Department of Corrections, Arizona Criminal Justice System and the Arizona Department of Economic Security to create strategies to serve the needs of these vulnerable families,” Rodriguez said.

The White House conference, titled "Parental Incarceration in the United States: Bringing Together Research and Policy to Reduce Collateral Costs to Children," focused on the latest research and policy in five areas: demographic and family dynamics, behavioral and health problems, educational outcomes, law enforcement and caring for children of incarcerated parents. One of the key recommendations coming out of the conference was the need for greater cooperation among researchers, advocates, policymakers and practitioners.

“This is exactly what we are doing here in Arizona,” said Rodriguez.  “That tells me we have the capacity to make a significant impact in the lives of these families.”