The old adage, "correlation does not imply causation," does not apply to the effects of father absence on children. In other words, for many of our most intractable social ills affecting children, father absence is to blame.
It's undeniable that if we are to address father absence at the macro-level, we must do everything we can to see that more children grow up in married-parent homes and that we encourage our children to choose marriage for themselves.
In Illinois, nearly 90,000 children have a parent in prison or a parent who recently left prison. That pain can last for decades, and it doesn't instantly dissolve when those imprisoned fathers come home.