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Osborne Association (Bronx NY)

This collection of handbooks is an excellent resource for anyone who cares for or works with children who have incarcerated parents. These “handbooks include information, tools, and resources, as well as vignettes and quotes to illustrate real-life examples. They are written for a diverse and broad audience who significantly touch and influence children’s lives, including caregivers of all kinds, professionals, volunteers, family members, and other caring adults. While the handbooks focus on children and the criminal justice system in New York State, they are designed to be helpful for those in other states as well.” “Volume I: The Experiences of Children of Incarcerated Parents” by Margaret Brooks, Elizabeth Gaynes, Tanya Krupat, Dana Lemaster-Schipani, and John Hunt covers what is known about these youth, their common feelings and emotions, criminal justice system stress points, individual experiences, diverse responses, and what you can do. “Volume II: Maintaining and Strengthening Family Ties for Children of Incarcerated Parents” by Elizabeth Gaynes, Tanya Krupat, Dana Lemaster-Schipani, and John Hunt discusses why relationships between children and their incarcerated parents need to be maintained, supporting positive visiting experiences for these children, the power of conversation, and facilitating communication between children and their incarcerated parents. “Volume III: Information for Non-Parent Caregivers of Children with Incarcerated Parents” by Gerald Wallace, Rachel Glaser, Michelle Rafael, Lynn Baniak, Tanya Krupat, Dana Lemaster-Schipani, and Elizabeth Gaynes provides background information about non-parent caregivers, and explains how kin become caregivers, custodial arrangements—a caregiver’s options, visiting and co-parenting, financial assistance, and health care, educational assistance, child care, and other services.

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"The immense costs of incarceration have increasingly framed the conversation around reducing the prison population as a matter of fiscal responsibility and budgetary necessity. This discussion is often centered around reducing the arrest and prosecution of so-called “non-violent drug offenders.” But these issues belie a much more pressing human and economic concern: the aging prison population, whose costs for incarceration and care will soon prove unsustainable if meaningful action is not taken. And though prison is expensive, cost is far from the only justification to move away from our reliance on incarceration, as the continued long-term incarceration of aging citizens has serious moral, ethical, public health, and public safety implications" (p. 1). This paper explains how agencies might go about effectively addressing these issues. Sections following an executive summary address: the threat facing the United States—economic costs, health impact, strain on correctional systems, social costs and public safety, and the roots of the crisis; from the inside out—meeting the needs of the aging within prisons—six innovative programs; the question of parole; the reentry experience—five viable strategies; the work to be done within correctional facilities, release mechanisms, and post-release services; and toward a new paradigm of punishment. "The interconnected complexity of the aging prisoner crisis demands a strategic response that is versatile and multifaceted, and that seeks to address the issue at multiple points of intervention with involvement from all stakeholders. The fields of gerontology, philanthropy, health, and corrections are uniquely positioned and qualified collectively to inform and implement both short- and long-term solutions to this issue. Armed with critical interdisciplinary knowledge and backed by investment from the philanthropic community, such a collaborative partnership possesses unparalleled opportunity to make lasting contributions to the policies and best practices affecting the aging prison population. This joint stakeholder alliance is particularly well-suited to enrich the reentry process, first by identifying those factors that formerly incarcerated elders need to thrive upon their release to the community and subsequently creating resources and pathways for success. Such an approach would not only yield tremendous cost savings, improved public health outcomes, and economic growth, but would also embody a commitment to human rights—including the freedom for our elders to live the remainder of their lives within their communities and to die with grace in the presence of friends and family" (p. 14-15).

The High Costs of Low Risk: The Crisis of America's Aging Prison Population cover

"The purpose of this guide is to inform the development of video visiting programs within a correctional setting. “Video visiting” is real-time interactive video communication which uses video conferencing technology or virtual software programs, such as Skype. It is an increasingly popular form of communication between separated family members in settings outside of corrections. The rapid expansion of video visiting in jails and prisons over the past few years suggests that video visiting may become very common in corrections in the near future.

"This guide will help inform administrators about the benefits and challenges of using some common video visiting models across a variety of settings. Video visiting can be a positive enhancement to in-person visiting, and has the potential to promote positive outcomes for incarcerated individuals and their families and communities. In certain circumstances, video visiting may benefit corrections by reducing costs, improving safety and security, and allowing for more flexibility in designating visiting hours. The value of video visiting can be maximized when the goals of the facility are balanced with the needs of incarcerated individuals and their families" (p. vii).

This guide is comprised of three chapters: why consider video visiting; implementation considerations; and evaluating a video visiting program. Appendixes cover: additional uses for video conferencing in corrections; video visiting with children; identifying a video visiting model; implementation checklist; and evaluation tools.

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