Sentencing Policy

JS Blog Post March 9, 2016

Make it Quick: The Kids Only Have 24 Hours with Dad

Patricia Allard

Nightline’s Face to Face with Juju Chang presents "One Day with God" -  a prison program that runs in seven states. Fathers have 24 hours to build memories with their children in the prison gymnasium. One father teaches the importance of cursive writing to his son, while another has an intimate moment dancing with his daughter. Chang summarized this precious day as follows: “Throughout the day, it’s clear that the dads are trying to cram years of parenting into a couple of hours.”

In-prison and re-entry programs are critical in maintaining healthy connections between fathers and children. However, we do have the opportunity to further limit the damage visited on children when their parents face a possible prison term. We talk about the best interest of the child but when we consider severing the parent-child bond when a father faces a prison term, we fail to take an inquisitive look at the impact a prison term will have on the family unit, especially children. Read more »

JS Blog Post February 27, 2016

United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent Speaks to the Best Interests of Children of Incarcerated Parents

Patricia Allard

On Thursday, January 21st, 2016, the US Human Rights Network and the Franklin Law Group, P.C. convened a Civil Society Roundtable with the members of the UN Working Group of Experts on People     of African Descent          (UN WGEPAD) during their first official visit to the United States. This convening provided the opportunity for civil society to spotlight persistent issues of racial        discrimination in the United States,    and engage the Working Group on policy recommendations, and   lift up best practices for   replication at the state, national and international levels.   Read more »

JS Blog Post February 23, 2016

Washington Update

Patricia Allard

On January 15, 2016, the Washington State House on Early learning & Human Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Ruth Kagi, held a work session that focused on three distinct issues: (1) Prevocational Services Report, (2) Children of Incarcerated Parents, (3) Executive Session: 2SHB 1999, HB 2323.

The segment of the January 15th work session that addresses the issue of children of incarcerated parents starts at 31.21 minutes.  

http://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2016010089

In brief, during this segment you’ll hear from five speakers addressing the needs and concerns of children who have incarcerated parents. This work session provides important information about developments the state has sought out to address the needs of families entangled with the criminal justice system and child welfare services. Read more »

JS Blog Post December 2, 2015

Incarceration Generation: Families Left Behind

Lisa Ling

In “Incarceration Generation: Families Left Behind , brought to viewers by Lisa Ling’s Our America  and sponsored by OWN, we get an up close and personal picture of the impact on families of incarcerating Black fathers in America.

JS Blog Post November 2, 2015

Sentencing Parents, Sentencing Children: Trick or Treat Halloween Without Mom or Dad

Patricia Allard

“Trick or treat” are the cherished words I like to hear every year at Halloween when I open my door. Batman, Cinderella and the witch are yearly visitors, and I am always prepared with my small but tasty, chocolate treats. Many older children come knocking for their Halloween treats while their mom or dad, in some cases both parents – mom and dad, dad and dad or mom and mom – patiently wait by the curb with a watchful eye. This year a little one came to my door in her daddy’s arms, experiencing this Western tradition for the first time.  Dad urged her to utter those cherished words. The sweet girl in her cat costume shyly said in a practically indiscernible voice, “Trick or Treat”.  Her dad proudly flashed a beaming smile while the little girl lite up as I deposited M&M chocolates in her orange, plastic pumpkin container.  Watching them leave my porch, I was struck by the thought that this Halloween over 2.7 million American children were not being accompanied by their mother or father due to the cruel separation that is enforced by parental incarceration. Read more »

JS Blog Post September 30, 2015

Family Sentencing Alternatives: Oregon's New Pilot Program

Patricia Allard

Oregon is the latest state to consider the possibility of diverting parents of minor children away from prison to enable them to serve their sentence in the community under supervision. On August 12, 2015, the Oregon Governor signed into law Chapter 830 of the Oregon Revised Statutes, which gave life to the Family Sentencing Alternative Pilot Program (FSAPP).  The FSAPP has particular eligibility criteria, including that

 

  1. The person is likely to be sentenced to a prison term in the legal and physical custody of the Department of Corrections for at least one year;

 

  1. The person “has not previously been convicted of and is not currently being sentenced for:”

 

  1. A sex crime;
  2. Certain felony offenses (i.e. violent offenses) requiring a determinate sentence or a mandatory sentence; offences involving unlawful delivery of  controlled substances, including specifically to minors; or offenses involving driving while under the influence of intoxicants; and

  Read more »

JS Blog Post August 25, 2015

A letter to the judge who sentenced her father

Maria Lloyd

Maria Lloyd , 23-year old adult child of an incarcerated father, sends a poignant letter to the judge who sentenced her father to five life sentences for drug trafficking. The letter says it all.

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 23, 2015

What It's Like To Spend Father's Day In Prison

Simon McCormack
Father's Day produces a complicated mix of emotions for the thousands of fathers in the U.S. who are imprisoned. "Father's Day is a uniquely difficult time of the year for me," dad and prisoner Bruce W. Harrison wrote in a note sent to The Huffington Post via nonprofit organization Families Against Mandatory Minimums. "It reminds me of the fact that I've served more than 20 years in federal prison. Decades of my life spent behind bars instead of time I should have been spending with my family." Harrison and three other dads shared their feelings of pain, remorse and hope with HuffPost in the heart-wrenching notes below, which have been edited for length and clarity. For a complete article turn to this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/19/fathers-day-behind-bars_n_76236...
JS Blog Post April 23, 2015

Parental Incarceration's Destablizing Impact on Family and Community

Patricia Allard

When we speak of Family Integrity for All, we also mean family integrity for the caregivers who are compelled to step into the shoes of the parents who are incarcerated and let go of their role as grandmothers, grandfathers, brothers, sisters, etc.  I know from my experience of being raised by my grandmother, it was challenging for her in some ways. While my grandmother assumed a caregiver role, she was not alone. My mother, her daughter, was still around being a mother to me when she wasn’t away at work. So the joys of being a grandmother and a granddaughter were still experienced by my grandmother and me. I saw this vibrancy of our relationship until my grandma’s late age of 101. However, when the state incarcerates a parent, they are physically removing the parent, and other family members are forced to assume a role they were not intended to assume. What is lost of the natural, vibrancy of those relationships?  Take a look at what the experts have to say. This video from Echoes of Incarceration, Caring Through Struggle: Caregivers of Children with Incarcerated Parents, provides an incredible lens into how the criminal justice system destabilizes families and communities, but it also shows us the resilience that we hold in our spirit of resistance.

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