Prisoners who have regular visits are SIX times less likely to re-enter prison than those who have none.
More than 60 percent of parents in prison are held more than 100 miles from home.
I HAVE THE RIGHT NOT TO BE JUDGED, BLAMED OR LABELED BECAUSE MY PARENT IS INCARCERATED
Create opportunities for children of incarcerated parents to communicate with and support each other. The shame young people experience when a parent is incarcerated is enhanced when they believe they are alone in their experience. The company of other children whose parents are in jail or prison--whether in support camps--can allow young people to unburden themselves of a painful secret, learn that they are not to blame for their family’s troubles, and perceive themselves as having potential.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO SPEAK WITH, SEE AND TOUCH MY PARENT
Visiting an incarcerated parent can be difficult and confusing for children, but research suggests that contact between prisoners and their children benefits both, reducing the chance of parents returning to prison and improving the emotional life of children. Because increasing numbers of incarcerated parents are held at prohibitive distances from their children, too many children are denied the opportunity for contact with their parents.
THE PRICE CHILDREN PAY
Many young people will tell you that they rarely receive the support they need as they “do time” along with their parents.
Maintaining contact with an incarcerated family member or parent through visitation and phone calls is extremely costly and serves as a barrier to family connections.
I have the right TO SUPPORT AS I FACE MY PARENT’S INCARCERATION
Children whose parents are imprisoned carry tremendous burdens. Not only do they lose the company and care of a parent, they also must deal with the stigma of parental incarceration, and fear for their parent’s safety and well-being. Researchers who have interviewed children who have experienced parental incarceration have found them vulnerable to depression, anger and shame. One study found many showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress reaction—difficulty sleeping and concentrating, depression, and flashbacks to their parent’s crimes or arrests.
70 percent of children who were present at a parent’s arrest watched that parent being handcuffed.
30 percent were confronted with drawn weapons.
Nearly TWO THIRDS of children being raised by single grandmothers live in poverty.
HALF of all children with incarcerated mothers are cared for by grandparents.
Nearly THREE QUARTERS of those admitted to state prison have been convicted of non-violent crimes.
The average term being served by parents in state prison is 80 months.
If young people feel blamed or unheard—if their feelings remain hidden and their needs go unexpressed—the burden of parental incarceration grows heavier.
THREE in 100 American children will go to sleep tonight with a parent in jail or prison.
U.S. prisons held the parents of over 1.5 million children. In 2006, over 7.2 million people were on probation, in jail or prison, or on parole—3.2% of all U.S. adult residents or 1 in every 31 adults. Bureau of Justice Statistics.
(SFCIPP produced the "Bill of Rights" for the children of incarcerated parents.)