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How many children have parents in Jail?

September 15, 2011

Would you believe that more than one American out of 100 is either in jail or prison right now?   Yes, we all have heard about over crowding and over populated prisons and jails in America, but for most the thought stops there.  Over the next few days I will open your eyes to the issue behind the staggering numbers that continue to grow at an alarming rate.

For today though, lets just focus on some facts about the number of children and families impacted by incarceration.  According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) slightly more than 1.7 million children under age 18 had a parent in state or federal prison, representing 2.3 percent of the total U.S. child population. The number of children with a father in prison increased from 881,500 in 1991 to more than 1.5 million in 2007, a 77 percent increase. During that time, the number of children with a mother in prison increased by 131 percent, from 63,900 to 147,400.

Let’s reflect on these numbers from 2007 and think about these children and families.  The reality is that no matter what your views are on the role of incarceration in your community, the nature of incarceration is destructive to the family unit and can leave invisible scars of depression, negative self images and even worse, the next generation of  criminals doomed to follow the path of their parents, without appropriate guidance and strategies for mitigating the effects of the separation. 

On October 27 th 2011, Jacqueline Caron of the State of Connecticut Pardon Board will deliver the key-note message at the 4th annual Post Incarceration: Chronicles of Success Conference.  This year’s event is promising to be the most exciting ever.  It will be hosted by the East Hartford Cultural Center from 8:30 am to 4:30pm.  Participants will get to pose tough questions to the community education panel that will consist of formerly incarcerated individuals, family members and practitioners who helped children and families over the obstacles and break the cycle of recidivism.  This year’s agenda will also include a dramatic re-enactment sure to pull on your heart-strings.  If you or anyone you know has been impacted by an incarcerated loved one, you owe it to the child, the family and your community to share this message and join the mission to equip our communities for success.  We hope to see you there!

Reserve your spot today .

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