Children of inmates
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.
The experiences of female inmates, their children, and the present caregivers of those children are examined. Any review of the problems women inmates and their children experience should include this report. Three sections are contained in this document: female prisoners—demographics, criminal histories, family histories, mental health histories, drug abuse histories, children, and concerns and recommendations from the women; caregivers of the children of female prisoners—backgrounds of the incarcerated mothers and the children, experiences of the children at the time of arrest, problems experiences by the children, contact between child and mother, and problems experienced by caregivers; and summary and recommendations.
This report attempts to discover how the children involved in the Volunteers of America (VOA) initiative Look Up and Hope (LUH) feel while their mother has been incarcerated. It sheds a light on the experiences of this special population of children and offers a way other jurisdictions can approach helping these kids. Sections of this publication include: background and purpose—the growing family problem of incarcerated mothers, and the creation of the LUH program; key findings—children with mothers in prison frequently experience great loss (i.e., homes, friends, and emotional support systems), they usually find strength and stability from those caregivers they love especially grandmothers, and children and families depend on their VOA family coaches or case managers; and conclusions and next steps.
"Through no fault of their own, millions of children have been exposed to and affected by the criminal justice system by witnessing their parent being arrested, by seeing their parent in court, or by visiting their parent in jail or prison. Indeed, many of the thousands of adult men and women who are arrested, prosecuted, and incarcerated each year leave behind minor children who must grapple with their parent’s absence for days, months, or years. Although such exposure does not always result in negative outcomes for children, the extant research does suggest that parental involvement in the criminal justice system can put children at risk of residential instability, economic strain and financial hardship, mental health problems, poor academic performance, and antisocial and delinquent behavior. Parental involvement in the system can be traumatic for children and can hinder the quality of the relationship they have with their parent … This toolkit and the strategies and experiences described herein are intended for people who are interested in developing family-focused jail programs in their own jurisdictions, such as jail practitioners and community-based organizations working with jail administrators and jail detainees" (p. 1). Sections cover: family-focused jail programs; Children of Incarcerated Parents Bill of Rights; considerations for developing a comprehensive family-focused jail program—identify goals, ensure that the process is collaborative, determine what components should be in the program (parenting classes, coached phone calls, contact visits, and others), and implement the program (program structure and sequence, eligibility, and staff training); challenges and lessons learned (have adequate and appropriate space for the various program components, strike a balance between having fun and providing a service, minimize the trauma associated with visiting a parent in jail, account for high population turnover in jails, and secure adequate, sustainable funding); and conclusion.