Politicians often argue that the solution to reducing crime is more government programs or building bigger jails. Yet government cannot adequately address the underlying problems of criminal behavior or fill the holes in people’s lives.
What families need more than government programs are married fathers and mothers together in the home and faithful churches on the corner. Within families, children learn how to govern their lives. Churches help to reinforce these principles and strengthen the family in its role. When these institutions are weak or absent from peoples’ lives, society becomes increasingly dependent on government to impose restraint.
The evidence is overwhelming: When families are broken, children are more likely to engage in criminal behavior. Having both mother and father as mutually supporting authority figures in a child’s life to provide leadership and security is vitally important for a child in many ways, both physically and emotionally. Researchers find, for example, that:
- Children raised in non-intact homes are more likely to engage in violent crimes;
- Children who grow up without a father in the home are also significantly more likely to be incarcerated as adults;
- Children and youth in married-parent homes are also less likely to be victims of violence and maltreatment; and
- Children in married-parent homes are far less likely to experience other types of child abuse (emotional or sexual abuse).
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