Supporting the Children of an Incarcerated Parent

Supporting the Children of an Incarcerated Parent

November 20, 2012
By: 
Wendy Johnson

We tend not to think much about the incarcerated. Similarly, how often do we think about the wellbeing of the children of an incarcerated parent?

I recently read that nationally, 7.3 million children have at least one parent in jail or prison. I encourage you to read this recent article: Bid to lower families’ prison call fees falters and consider what you believe to be the best policies to protect and support the children in this situation.

Keep in mind the prison statistics when it comes to race. According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) non-Hispanic blacks accounted for 39.4% of the prison and jail population in 2009. Hispanics (of all races) were 15.9% of those incarcerated in 2009.  Additionally, in 2009 American Indians and Alaskan Natives were jailed, paroled, or on probation at 932 per 100,000, 25% higher than for non-Indians/Natives.

The children are suffering when their parents are incarcerated. One way to make it easier is to allow them access to their mother or father, even if they are in prison. Making phone calls affordable will help.

From the article:

The Rev. Dan Krutz, an Episcopal priest who serves as director of the Interfaith Council, said the prisons and telephone providers should “make a living, not a killing.” He urged commissioners to look at what it’s doing to families and “I cannot believe Jesus would come away and say, ‘We need to take care of our bottom line.'”

If you’re inspired to act, I encourage you to find out more about how these issues are handled in your community.

A good place to start might be this list of resources from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Afterall, it’s about the children.