Mass Incarceration

JS Blog Post January 3, 2019

Darina Interview: Stories told by Children of Incarcerated Parents

Riley Hewko, Esq.

Two years ago, Patricia Allard and I wrote a Huffington Post blog highlighting a video of 8-year-old Darina’s wish for her father’s transfer from a federal prison in Texas to one in Oregon. It seemed like it would take a miracle, but with the help of her community he was transferred last year. Darina still can’t even think of the ultimate miracle— having her dad come home. 

This year I had the opportunity to chat with Darina, now 10-years-old about her thoughts on her dad’s incarceration, her most recent visit, and some advice for young people in her situation. You can listen to the interview here.

JS Blog Post December 21, 2018

Video Released #SurvivorsSpeak Out on Criminal Justice Policy Change in Florida

Riley Hewko, Esq.

Today, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice released a video from their Survivor’s Speak Florida 2018. Hundreds of survivors of violent crime gathered together in Tallahassee, FL at the state capitol to advocate for increased investments in trauma recovery, prevention and rehabilitation over more prisons and jails. Read more »

JS Blog Post November 23, 2018

Save your Black Friday Spending to Instead Support Children of Incarcerated Parents for #Giving Tuesday

Riley Hewko, Esq.

Every year, on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving #GivingTuesday provides individuals an alternative to spending their money on “Black Friday.” This year consider staying away from companies that support the prison industry and instead donate to organizations helping children of incarcerated parents. The U.S has approximately 7 million people in prison, jail, probation or parole, 100,000 in juvenile detention, 478,000 in immigration detention.

JS Blog Post October 27, 2018

The Family First Prevention Services Act Offers Support for Children of Incarcerated Parents

Riley Hewko, Esq.

Last spring, groundbreaking legislation, The Family First Prevention Services Act (“FFPSA”), was signed into law as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act allowing states to use federal funding to help keep families together and avoid out of home foster care placement entirely. Specifically, the legislation changes the way that Title IV-E funds can be spent by states by allowing funds to be used for prevention services that help keep kids at home or with their relatives. Prevention services include for example, mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services, in-home skill-based parenting programs, foster care maintenance payments for children with parents in residential family-based substance abuse treatment facilities, and payments for kinship navigator programs.

JS Blog Post October 15, 2018

Policy Brief: Helping Children of Incarcerated Parents & Children in Foster Care Calls for Alternative Sentencing and Keeping Kids at Home

Riley Hewko, Esq.

We know parental incarceration often leads to additional challenges for already disadvantaged and under-resourced families. However, it may also lead to the complete and permanent loss of the parent-child relationship. When parents go away to prison, other parents, caregivers, and/or family members must step in to provide support. If these parents do not have another parent or family who can step in, many of these children will end up in the foster care system. Based on numbers from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a majority of parents in state prisons have been in for 12 to 59 months and had 12 to 50 months left to serve. This time served is significantly more than the child welfare timeline allows and may lead to the permanent separation of families involved in the child welfare system. Read more »

JS Blog Post October 12, 2018

The Impact of Incarceration on Siblings

Riley Hewko, Esq. featuring poem by Incarcerated Father Mato Cikala

Glancing out my cell window,

as grainy salty tears drown my eyes to a blur.

One flows its way down my cheek              so                     slow

like rain on a window until it falls off my chin,

piercing my soul, reminiscing about my time growing up with my brothers.

 

I'm the oldest of three boys.

I hold this guilt

for taking our time together for granted

for leaving them to grow up without a positive role model

like an older brother should have.

 

Instead they have to visit their big brother in prison

With so many restrictions and limited time to show their support for so many years.

At the moment the youngest doesn't understand Read more »

JS Blog Post October 5, 2018

Study Update: Recent Study Shows Negative Public Health Impacts for Children with Histories of Parental Incarceration and Need for Decarceration Strategies

Riley Hewko, Esq.

A recent study confirms that incarceration is one of the major public health challenges of our time, not only for the people experiencing incarceration, but for children left behind. The study by Nia Heard-Garris MD et al, “Health Care Use and Health Behaviors Among Young Adults with History of Parental Incarceration,” found that young adults with histories of parental incarceration are less likely to use health care and more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors compared with peers without parental incarceration. Such findings urge policy makers to reduce incarceration rates and help children maintain contact with their incarcerated parents. Read more »

JS Blog Post August 28, 2018

United States Sentencing Commission - 2018-2019 Public Priorities Selection

Patricia Allard

Dear colleagues: 

  Read more »

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