World News and Trends: Criminal activity runs in some families

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Criminal activity runs in some families

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Crime in America tends to run in families. Nearly half of inmates in state prisons have family members who either are or have been incarcerated.

Three brothers in Louisiana are all convicted murderers serving life sentences in the state prison system. Among the many prisoners awaiting capital punishment in California are six sets of brothers. Texas has already executed six sets of siblings, and two sets of cousins are on death row.

In addition to female partner Bonnie Parker, the 1930s notorious robber and murderer Clyde Barrow also had a brother who occasionally joined him in robbing banks. Brothers Jesse and Frank James made a career of crime in the late 1800s.

Clearly family members influence one another for better or for worse. According to USA Today, "The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says an estimated 2 million children with one or both parents incarcerated face the greatest risk of perpetuating the cycle of crime across generations" (Jan. 29, 2008).

Breaking the cycle of family crime is a supremely difficult, but necessary, national challenge, and one that must start in the home. You can learn many foundational principles in our free booklets Making Life Work and Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension. (Source: USAToday.)