Springfield, IL – With the United States leading the world in incarceration rates, criminal-justice reformers are targeting an unintended consequence of that. A new report this month from the left-leaning Center for American Progress reveals that children who have at least one parent with a criminal record also have a tougher time in life. Rebecca Vallas, with the center, is co-author of the report. She says for the first time they have been able to estimate that nearly half of the country’s children are affected, even if a parent has only been arrested and never convicted. Vallas estimates that in Illinois more than 300-thousand children have a parent with a criminal record. The report notes this can negatively affect a parent’s access to good incomes, savings, education and housing. A Washington Post analysis earlier this year found that the U.S. puts people behind bars at a higher rate than any other country. The center’s report shows that most employers, colleges and landlords use criminal background checks. With so many parents having criminal records, Vallas says those factors can combine to create a less-than-ideal childhood.