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Reaching In: A Handbook for the Families of Parents Incarcerated in Wisconsin

"More than 2 million children have a parent currently in prison or jail, and 10 million more have experienced incarceration of one or both parents as some time in their lives. The incarcerated parent, the child, and the child’s caregiver all suffer as a result of the separation. The longer the parent and child are separated, the more likely they are to grow apart. The imprisonment of a parent often causes a family’s financial and living situations to get worse ... Studies have shown that communication and interest in each others’ lives reduces the harmful effects of incarceration and the child’s chances of following his parent into prison. Staying connected helps both the child and the offender to grow, learn and change. After the offender’s prison time is served, the move back to the home is easier for both the parent and the children when communication remains constant. There is less fear, less “catching up” to do, less bad feelings, more communication, more helping the child to heal, and less chance of continuing the cycle of incarceration" (p. 2). This handbook is designed to help the caregiver and child(ren) deal with an parents' incarceration. Sections contained in this publication are: introduction; coping with incarceration; helping children stay connected; encouraging children's education; family finances-child support and health insurance; returning home; and help for incarcerated parents and caregivers.