Child Welfare

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 May 11, 2015

They took her child away

Sharda Sekaran

Dear Patricia,


You won’t believe the story of Shona Banda. Let me tell you, I didn’t at first.
Shona lives in Kansas and uses medical marijuana to treat her Crohn’s disease, a chronic condition that causes her debilitating pain. Medical marijuana is the only treatment that relieves her symptoms.


Last month, her 11-year-old was forced to sit through a long D.A.R.E. propaganda seminar, where he was told marijuana has no medical benefit — completely contrary to established science. So he spoke up. He made it known to his classmates that medical marijuana was helping his mother battle a debilitating disease. What happened next is terrifying.

The school called the police, who then held and questioned him at school. Then Shona’s house was searched, her medicine seized, and her son was taken away.

This all happened in Kansas, just one state over from Colorado, where marijuana is legally bought and sold every day. We cannot let this stand.

Please TAKE ACTION! Follow the link below:

http://stand-with-shona.action.drugpolicy.org/?source=1F5ZZZZZZZ4/#primary_form

Sign the petition to the county attorney keeping Shona from her son – tell her to drop the case immediately! Read more »

JS Blog Post February 26, 2015

Garnering Support for Policy Change: Family Impact Statement

Allison Hollihan, Program Manager, Osborne Association’s New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents

This blog focuses on the needs of children and how Family Impact Statements (FIS) can ensure that the needs of children whose parents are involved in the criminal justice system are considered when important criminal justice decisions are made; it’s a story of progress and ongoing work to be done. A Family Impact Statement contains information about a defendant’s minor children and parenting responsibilities and describes how various sentencing options might affect these. When public safety is not compromised, FIS may support an alternative to incarceration or a shorter sentence length to minimize collateral consequences. However, FIS are not commonly used and garnering support for policy and practice change can be challenging. Here, we share how the Osborne Association’s New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents collaborated with New York State (NYS) probation professionals to encourage the inclusion of FIS in pre-sentencing investigation reports for the courts. Ultimately, we rebranded FIS as a Family Responsibility Statement (FRS) to garner the support needed to encourage the inclusion of information about a defendant’s children and parenting responsibilities in pre-sentence investigation reports developed by probation officers in New York State. Read more »

JS Blog Post February 10, 2015

Washington’s Parenting Sentencing Alternative: A strengths-based approach to supervision

Susie Leavell, Program Administrator, Washington State Department of Corrections

A sentencing alternative for parents in Washington State is showing great potential for reducing the rate at which parents return to prison after successfully completing the program. In 2010, the state Legislature passed the Parenting Sentencing Alternative, which has two components that allow parents of minor children to either avoid prison or to transfer early from prison onto electronic monitoring at home to parent. The Family and Offender Sentencing Alternative (FOSA) is a judicial sentencing option where judges can waive a sentence within the standard range and impose 12 months of community custody along with conditions for treatment and programming for eligible offenders who otherwise face a prison sentence. The other, called the Community Parenting Alternative (CPA), is a prison-based option that allows the Department of Corrections to transfer an offender home on electronic monitoring for up to the last 12 months of his or her prison sentence in order to parent.  Read more »

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