COIP Blog: The Adoption and Safe Family Act (ASFA)

JS Blog Post March 28, 2017

Grasping at the Root: A young father's path to incarceration.

Lillian M. Hewko

This is the first in a series of blog posts on fatherhood* and incarceration by Justice Strategies featuring Daniel Loera, a 21-year-old father of a 4-year-old daughter, currently serving time at Monroe Correctional Facility in Washington State. Daniel is navigating both the prison and child welfare systems in an attempt to maintain his parental rights.

Daniel was 16 when he committed the crime of assault. Along with a cousin, and under the influence of drugs, he followed two strangers outside of a Walmart to rob them. Daniel beat the young man he had followed with the butt of a gun and then fled the scene in his cousin’s car, only to be picked up two blocks away and then identified in a lineup. He was automatically charged as an adult, sentenced to 7.75 years of prison and 3 years of community custody.

When I sit across from Daniel, I can hardly imagine the young man described in the police report. When asked about his young self, Daniel says: Read more »

JS Blog Post July 16, 2015

Let Our Families Have a Future: A mother's story #2

Theresa Martinez

In this video, Theresa discusses the impact that familial seperartion has had on her daughter's well-being. Theresa's incarceration resulted in years of seperation from her daughter who was forced to live a challenging existence in the foster care system. Theresa also discusses how children of color in foster care - who miss their parents so much - are over-medicated in an effort to make them more manageable. Please view Theresa's second blog post

 

 

 

JS Blog Post June 30, 2015

Let Our Families Have a Future: A mother's story #1

Theresa Martinez
In this, the first of a four part video series, Theresa Martinez of Justice Now relates the story of her twenty-three years of incarceration in both youth and adult facilities, and her separation from her daughter. Listen in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPehSdIt9Tw
JS Blog Post January 6, 2015

Hewing a Stone of Hope Out of a Mountain of Despair: The Children of Incarcerated Parents’ Bill of Rights

Gail Smith

“The children of prisoners are guaranteed nothing. They have committed no crime, but the penalty they are required to pay is steep. They forfeit, too often, much of what matters to them: their homes, their safety, their public status and private self-image, their primary source of comfort and affection. Their lives and prospects are profoundly affected by the multiple institutions that lay claim to their parents—police, courts, jails and prisons, probation and parole—but they have no rights, explicit or implicit, within any of these jurisdictions.” – San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership

An estimated 2.7 million children nationwide are left behind by having at least one parent in jail or prison. In 2003, the San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (SFCIPP) developed a Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents, based on the experiences of children. Nell Bernstein, with her groundbreaking book, All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated, helped to launch this initiative. In 2005 they deepened the blueprint by launching the Rights to Realities Initiative, outlining steps toward implementation.  In case you are not familiar with them, here are the eight rights: Read more »

JS Blog Post December 10, 2014

Hill Briefing on Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in the United States -Wednesday, September 3 from 11-12:30pm in RM 2253 Rayburn Building

Patricia Allard

We're please to bring you a series of 5 video-blog posts from a Hill Briefing - Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in the United States - held in the fall of 2014. The briefing was designed to explore how the family integrity needs of children can be addressed at their parent's sentencing hearing. In this post Pamela Clifton, Communications Coordinator for the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, discusses the damaged the criminal justice system brought in her life and the lives of her children, and how her situation and that of many others could be better addressed without the use of prison terms.

JS Blog Post October 21, 2014

A Child’s Voice: Her Own Words

Ashleigh Clifton

Ashleigh's mom arrested on a drug charge and was sent to prison while Ashleigh was at school. At the time of writing her story for the Colorado Justice Report, Ashleigh was15:

I was sitting in my 2nd grade music class when the school principle showed up in the doorway to take me out of class. As I got up to leave, my friends did the whole "ooh, you're going to get in trouble", type of thing that normal 2nd graders do. I remember turning to them and telling them to "shut-up", but if I knew it was the last time I would see any of them, I probably would have said something more intelligent. As I walked down the hallway to her office, the principle kept saying things like "never give up, no matter what" and "you can do anything you set your mind to". I just kind of looked at her and nodded my head every once in awhile. Waiting in the principal's office was a Larimer County social worker. When we came into the office, she stood up and simply said, "Hi Ashleigh, I am here to take you across town to pick up your brother and then we're going to go for a little ride." Just like that my whole life changed into something from a scary movie. Only now, I couldn't push the "STOP" or "PAUSE" button. Read more »

JS Blog Post August 28, 2014

Children of Incarcerated Parents and Psychotropic Medications

Stephanie Franklin, Esq.

Drugging foster children with mind-altering drugs called psychotropics, is a common practice.  It has gotten so outrageous in the last 10 years that it has garnered national media coverage and the U.S. government’s attention.  Because of this, the government has held congressional hearings, hosted conferences and convenings, and enacted legislation to remedy the issue.  Grassroots advocates, activists, parents, and foster parents saw this widespread increase in the use of psychotropic medication on foster children and pushed for the government to deal with this issue. Working on the ground, with people, directly, is powerful!  It keeps you connected to the people that matter and focused on conquering and eliminating injustices that permeate the lives of marginalized populations.  I bring this issue to your attention because it highlights and underscores the vulnerability that children of incarcerated parents face – trauma and possible, over-medication of psychotropic drugs. Read more »

JS Blog Post July 23, 2014

That Morning Was Like Any Other Morning

Davian Reynolds

That morning was like any other morning. I awoke to the tattering of about one hundred cheerios filling a ceramic bowl, as my foster mother prepared my Barney sealed lunch box. I knew that it would be only minutes before I was called downstairs to eat my breakfast and get ready for school, but that morning I remember hearing something different. The echo of the doorbell lasted just about the time it took for hurried footsteps to reach the top of the carpeted staircase. The footsteps stopped in front of my door. “Davi,” whispered my foster mother. I was then asked to hide in a rather spacious closet in my foster mother’s bedroom. A new game, I presumed, given that I was never allowed to play in her closet before. What seemed like an hour passed by, and I remember thinking whoever was looking for me must have been really bad at “hide and go seek”. Finally, the door opened. My foster mother took my hand and guided me down the stairs. There, stood two people, a woman and a man, in all black suits. My hand was placed in an unfamiliar woman’s hand and she brought me outside to a black car. Read more »

JS Blog Post July 15, 2014

FREE HER Rally

Patricia Allard

On Saturday, June 21, 2014, the Families for Justice as Healing (http://justiceashealing.org) held a historic gathering, FREE HER Rally, on the Mall in Washington, D.C. The FREE HER rally and campaign was organized by women and others who support the ending of mass incarceration. The goals of the Free Her Rally were to "(1) raise awareness of the increase in the rate of incarceration of women in the United States and the impact on our children and communities, (2) Demand an end to voter disenfranchisement for people with felony convictions and (3) to ask President Obama to commute the sentences of women and men in the federal system who have applied for commutation." (http://justiceashealing.org/free-her-...)

Andrea James, the force behind Families for Justice as Healing and the organizer extraordinaire behind the Free Her Rally, closed the rally with a powerful call to action, asking participants to keep advocating for sentencing reform for parents who have minor children on the outside. Watch James' call to action.

JS Blog Post May 9, 2014

Twenty Years After Prison - A Mother’s Thoughts

Tina Reynolds

In 1995, my youngest son and I walked out of Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. What I know from the experience of raising my son in prison during the first year of his life is that he never knew he was in prison.  He never knew his mother had to stand for count, wear green every day, wear state shoes, ask for toilet paper or sanitary napkins, or to never be called by her first name.  He never knew that his mother had to suffer oppression, listen to relentless humiliations, or be treated without dignity by prison staff.   He never knew he lived in a building with other mothers who were incarcerated.  He never knew he lived in a nursery behind bars.  However, what I am sure of is my son knew he was loved. Read more »

Monthly Feature

Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People's Movement Western Regional Conference

Convened by All of Us or None & Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

Sunday, September 20th & Monday, September 21st

Formerly incarcerated and convicted people, family members, community and spiritual leaders, elected officials and government employees will all come together to strengthen our relationships and work towards making change through community empowerment. We invite you to Voice your opinion, learn your rights and learn what changes we can make together. All of Us or None Contact: (415)-255-7036 ext. 337 www.prisonerswithchildren.org

FREE REGISTRATION: eventbrite.com