National

JS Blog Post June 16, 2017

A Father's Day of Action: Join Just Leadership USA and New York Immigration Coalition for a Father's Day Action Monday June 19th

Lillian M. Hewko, J.D.

On Father's Day many of us will be busy making phone calls to loved ones across the country, stopping across town, or gathering in the memory of a father or parent to honor and show our love. But you don't have to stop showing your love this Sunday! Take action this Monday to "Free the Dads!" and parents who are unecessarily separated from their children as they serve time behind bars in state, federal and immigration facilities! Our communities need support and resources, not prisons!

 

Below is a call to action by Just Leadership USA's Communty Organizer Brittany Williams with easy steps for folks to take action in New York and across the nation!

  Read more »

JS Blog Post June 14, 2017

How Can Schools, Teachers, and Counselors Help Children Impacted by Incarceration?

By Megan Sullivan

School’s out. This means teachers, counselors and administrators are beginning the process of reflecting upon what they might do differently next year. One thing they might consider is how they can more adequately address the needs of the 2.7 million minor children who currently have a parent in prison or jail in the United States.

This is the second blog in a three-part series on how we can assist children. In last month's blog I suggested that although the number of adults who are incarcerated and the number of children impacted by incarceration may tell us some things, these numbers cannot convey the entire story as numbers do not reflect the unique and individualized ways in which incarceration impacts any given family. Our approach as advocates and researchers has often created missed connections and opportunities to truly know more of the story. The same could be said about the relationship between children who have parents in prison or jail and the K-12 institutions and staff who serve them. Read more »

JS Blog Post May 26, 2017

A Local Response to the White House: Denver Passes Jail Sentencing Reform & Aims to Help Immigrants, Families and Our Communities

Lillian M. Hewko, J.D.

Just this week, on May 22nd Denver City Council approved a comprehensive bill that reforms sentencing ranges for low level infractions and in doing so will protect immigrants from deportation. As many people sentenced to jail-time are parents, such changes will largely affect children of incarcerated parents by mitigating the negative emotional and behavioral outcomes caused by separation. The changes can also help avoid unnecessary separation and termination of parental rights for those involved in the child welfare system or in family law custody cases. In 2009 alone, more than 14,000 children entered foster care due at least partly due to the incarceration of a parent

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s office proposed the ordinance and stated: Read more »

JS Blog Post May 12, 2017

National Mama’s Bail Out Day: Taking a Stance & Reuniting Families Torn Apart by the Criminal Justice System.

Lillian M. Hewko, J.D.

What is the best way to maintain contact between children and their incarcerated parents? To get them out of jail in the first place! As reported by the Huffington post, this week just before Mother’s Day the Black Lives Matter Movement created “National Mama’s Bail Out Day” to give mothers (queer, trans, immigrant, young, elder and disabled) the greatest give of all—the gift of being with their children instead of being held in jail simply because they cannot afford bail.

Each day the cost of bail is devastating for parents (of all genders), families, and communities across our nation. In California alone, it is estimated that over 60% of individuals are held on pretrial bail—meaning they haven’t been convicted of a crime, they just can’t afford bail. A recent report by Justice Policy Institute found that bail bond companies take billions from low-income people with no return on investment in terms of public safety, and instead, create added costs to communities. Read more »

JS Blog Post May 10, 2017

Children of Incarcerated Parents in the United States: What We Know and What We Still Need to Learn

Megan Sullivan

By: Megan Sullivan*

This is the first of a three-part series on children of incarcerated parents. My thanks to Justice Strategies for allowing me the opportunity to participate in this series.

I come to the topic of children with incarcerated parents from several vantage points. First, I was ten years old when my father was arrested and received a two-to-five-year sentence for larceny. I know firsthand that while the relationship between a parent’s incarceration and a child’s outcomes is not obvious or proscriptive, there are important reasons to pay attention to this relationship. Read more »

JS Blog Post April 21, 2017

No Way Out for Parents Charged with Violent Crimes

Lillian M. Hewko, J.D.

“Now that I have a child of my own, I want to be in her life and show her that I have changed into a responsible adult.” –Daniel Loera, 21 years old, Monroe Correctional Facility

Daniel is one of the 45 percent of men in prison under 24 years old who are fathers. Daniel, featured in our last fatherhood blog, wants nothing more than a second chance so that he can help parent his 4-year old daughter, but Daniel has no no way out anytime soon. He is serving a 7.75-year sentence for an assault he committed when he was 16. With no options for an early release and with his daughter in foster care, he may permanently lose his parental rights. Read more »

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 »

News Article Huffington Post December 22, 2016

‘Tis The Season For Miracles: Eight-Year-Old Darina Tries To Get Her Incarcerated Dad Closer To Home

This article, by Patricia Allard, of Justice Strategies, and Lillan Hewko, Attorney & Co-founder of the Incarcerated Parents Project of the Washington Defender Association, and equally moving embedded video by Silicon Valley De-Bug, relates the story of Darina, an eight year old whose wish is to have her incarcerated father moved to a federal facility nearer her home so that she could "just drive" to see him.  In three years Darina has been able to make the 2,000 mile journey to see her father in Texas only once.  In this season of compassion and caring for others, we are reminded by Darina's story that our criminal justice system should and can do better to ensure that, yes, justice is done but in a manner that takes into account the burdens placed on the children and families of the incarcerated, and preserves parent-child bonds important for successful re-entry back into family and community life. 

News Article The Intercept December 17, 2016

Fatal Corrections: Inside the Deadly Mississippi Riot That Pushed the Justice Department to Rein In Private Prisons

Justice Strategies' Director, Judith Greene, is quoted in this recent Intercept article about the deadly riot that occurred on May 20, 2012 at the Adams County Correctional Center in Natchez, Mississippi, a facility run by the Corrections Corporation of America, now know as CoreCivic.  The author, Janosch Delker, traces the events leading to the Natchez private prison riot, including complaints by prisoners about the inadequate medical care, substandard food and poor supervision that led to fatal consequences for prisoners prior to, and for staff, that day.  The riot at CoreCivic's Natchez prison, and similar events elsewhere, prompted investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and a call by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, in August of 2016, for ending the use of private prison contracts by the federal Bureau of Prisons to house immigrants.  During his campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump called for increasing the use of private for-profit prisons.  The Natchez Adams County Correctional Center private prison riot was the subject of a Justice Strategies' report released in Sept. 2012 entitled Privately Operated Federal Prisons for Immigrants: Expensive, Undafe, Unnecessary. 

JS Blog Post December 12, 2016

Human Rights City: Organizing for Change From the Ground Up

Human Rights Institute at Northeastern University School of Law

PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT

Human Rights Institute at Northeastern University School of Law

Affirms Importance of Local Action to Protect and Advance Human Rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 12, 2016

CONTACTS: Jackie Smith, National Human Rights Cities Network, jgsmith [at] pitt [dot] edu (jgsmith [at] pitt [dot] edu)

Kevin Murray, Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy k [dot] murray [at] northeastern [dot] edu Read more »

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