JS Blog Post February 13, 2018

Washington State Senate Passes Bill to Expand Parental Diversion but Leaves Immigrant Families Out

Lill M. Hewko

Last Friday February 9th, 2018, the Washington State Senate passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5307 (ESSB 5307), which will help expand Washington State’s Family Offender Sentencing Alternative program beyond individuals with non-violent crimes and expands the definition of family to help keep more parents in the community. The bill now moves to the House Public Safety Committee for a hearing on February 15th, at 8am. Read more »

JS Blog Post January 16, 2018

A Good Start to the New Year: Expanding Opportunities for Parental Diversion

Lill M. Hewko



A mother parenting and serving time for a violent crime with her son at the Washington Corrections Center for Women holiday event. Photo Credit: Maria Bryk Photography.


“Our love goes beyond bars.”

-T.Q. and M.L, Mothers at Washington Corrections Center for Women 

Advocates in Washington and Tennessee are providing an antidote to the terrible criminal justice efforts that the new year has brought us on the federal level. In Washington State, advocates today will be testifying to “Say yes to keeping families together” by supporting Senate Bill 5307.

SB 5307 is an effort to expand Washington State’s current alternative sentencing program which would allow to more parents to serve time in the community instead of behind bars. Specifically, the WA legislation will expand the law to allow more families stay together and reduce the negative affects of parent-child separation due to incarceration by: Read more »

JS Blog Post November 21, 2017

The Rights of Children of Incarcerated and their Parents a Human Rights Issue

Lill M. Hewko

Justice Strategies (JS) is working to address the impact of parental incarceration on children as a human rights issue and will be attending and presenting at the 2017 Advancing Human Rights Conference in Atlanta December 7-10th. With over two million children in the United States experiencing parental incarceration, children of color are impacted disproportionately. In 2014, in response to advocacy by JS, the United Nations’ CERD Committee (Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination) made observations which included concerns on the negative impact of parental incarceration on children of color and called upon the US government to promote the use of alternatives to prison for parents of minor children. On July 24th , 2017, JS attended the US State Department’s Civil Society Consultation in Washington D.C. and made a statement to the department’s CERD Team urging the US government to uphold the observations regarding children of incarcerated parents at the federal, state and local level. We will continue to work to advance the rights of children of incarcerated and their parents as a human rights issue. Here is our full statement: 

  Read more »

JS Publication November 10, 2017

Elections 2017: Beginning of the End of Willie Horton Politics?

In this article for The Crime Report, Justice Strategies' Director, Judith Greene, raises the prospects that the 2017 elections may indicate signs that we are turning the corner away from politicizing crime. The results in off-year gubernatorial elections indicate that urban/suburban voters in both Virginia and New Jersey are no longer swayed by “penal populism.” Republican candidates were soundly defeated despite their attempts to gain political capital by stoking fears of an immigrant crime wave which does not exist.

JS Blog Post November 8, 2017

Reflections from an Incarcerated Dad

Lill M. Hewko

Nationally it is estimated that the number of kids who have had a parent in jail or prison at some point hovers around a conservative estimate of 5.1 million. For children with a parent in jail or prison, distance, cost, visitation restrictions, family conflict, and legal barriers can make it difficult for children to remain in contact with their parent. They may even lose that connection permanently as the Adoption and Safe Families Act is an even larger barrier for parents who are incarcerated. A young parent I work with, Daniel Loera, describes the importance of his daughter in his life,  as well as his young-adult insight regarding his own path to prison, his resilience, and his efforts to honor his family and find healthy community outside of gangs: Read more »

JS Blog Post October 25, 2017

An Update on Numbers for Native and Latinx Youth Supports Moves for Decarceration

Lill M. Hewko

This month, the Sentencing Project released their second and third fact sheets on racial and ethnic disparities in youth incarceration focusing on Native and Latinx* youth. We highlighted the first fact sheet on the disparities in incarceration for black youth here. Read more »

JS Blog Post October 3, 2017

Join the October "See Us, Support Us" Campaign to Support Incarcerated Children and Their Parents

Lill M. Hewko




The month of October is the See Us, Support Us, a month-long, national campaign to increase supports for children with incarcerated parents by The New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents. During October, you can support children and families separated by incarceration by learning more and sharing what you learn. Read more »

JS Blog Post September 20, 2017

Youth Incarceration Numbers are Down But Racial Disparities are Up--A New Fact Sheet from The Sentencing Project

Lill M. Hewko

Last week The Sentencing Project released its first of three fact sheets on racial and ethnic disparities in youth incarceration. State by state analysis shows that despite long-term declines in youth incarceration overall, racial disparities continue to grow. Read more »

JS Blog Post August 8, 2017

Alternative Solutions: Washington Parental Alternative Sentencing Program Highlights

Lillian M. Hewko

Washington State has been the leader in the creation of an alternative sentencing program that supports families. The numbers available in their most recent “Fact Sheet” (available here) show why need to keep moving in this direction. Not only are a majority of parents successful in the program, many children are able to avoid being placed in foster care and unncessary separation. Read more »

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