New York

JS Blog Post April 23, 2015

Parental Incarceration's Destalizing 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.

JS Publication March 27, 2015

Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in New York State

In this policy memorandum, Senior Justice Strategies Research Analyst, Patricia Allard offers suggested changes to New York State law that can help mitigate the negative impacts of parental involvement with the criminal justice system on their children.  These changes would help preserve family integrity by promoting alternatives to parental incarceration, provide for enhancing sentencing reports to courts, and other supports that could help these NYS families thrive.

JS Blog Post March 17, 2015

Sesame Street Made a Video, But It's Not Cute and It's Not Funny

Patricia Allard

Upworthy created a powerful video that presents the documentary initiative produced by youth of incarcerated parents, Echoes of Incarceration http://www.echoesofincarceration.org/Home.html. Read more »

JS Blog Post March 12, 2015

Advancing Family Integrity for All: Sentencing Reform Affecting Parents

Patricia Allard

Following the September 4th, 2014 Hill briefing – Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in the USA (see January 2015 blog posts) - co-hosted by Justice Strategies and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Justice Strategies launched a much needed campaign, Advancing Family Integrity for All. It is time to refocus our attention on the children left behind as a result of parental incarceration. Children are the silent victims of our country’s tough on crime policies. By honoring the right to family integrity of children who have a mother or father facing a possible prison term, promoting alternatives to incarcerating parents, and offering the necessary socio-economic supports to help families thrive, we can finally prioritize children, families and communities while upholding public safety.  Advancing family integrity for all enhances public safety for everyone.

Advancing Family Integrity for All seeks sentencing reform at the federal and state level. We offer the following four principles as guidance for reform:

1. At the pre-sentencing hearing of an individual convicted of an offense, the Court should be required to ask whether the person is a parent; 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 19, 2015

From Sing Sing NY Correctional Facility:A father's experience of parenthood

Patricia Allard

The host of Death, Sex & Money (production of WNYC), Anna Sale, interviews Lawrence Bartley in this 40-minute podcast. The podcast entitled “I killed someone. Now I have 3 kids” aired on Wednesday, December 17, 2014. The podcast offers insight into the life of Mr. Bartley, a 41 year old man, who in his teens unintentionally shot a 15 year old innocent bystander in a movie theatre in NYC. While in prison, Mr. Bartley married his middle-school sweetheart, and they had two sons together. Mr. Bartley speaks about the struggle his family and he face as a result of his incarceration. The following are two excerpts from the interview:

And what do you and your wife tell the boys when they come here, how do you explain it? Read more »

JS Blog Post February 3, 2015

Fifth post - Hill Briefing on Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in the USA - Wednesday, September 4, 2014, Washington, D.C.

Patricia Allard

In this clip, Elizabeth Gaynes discusses the importance of family responsibility statements to advance the rights of children in the criminal justice process.

JS Blog Post October 8, 2014

Art for Change

Caitlin Gibb

A Lewis Cunningham describes himself as the visionary half of his artwork.  He receives messages and images from beyond (sometimes while driving along the Westside Highway in NYC), and then finds artists to put paint to canvas and bring those images to life.  I came across this piece of his at the 2013 Arts to End Violence tent at the Kingston Avenue Street Fair in NYC, and I believe its essence has been with me on a cellular level ever since.  Powerful art will do that to you. A little over a year later, I sat down to chat with him about the what’s-what and who’s-who of this poignant work. Read more »

JS Blog Post July 23, 2014

That Morning Was Like Any Other Morning

Davian Reynolds

That morning was like any other morning. I awoke to the tattering of about one hundred cheerios filling a ceramic bowl, as my foster mother prepared my Barney sealed lunch box. I knew that it would be only minutes before I was called downstairs to eat my breakfast and get ready for school, but that morning I remember hearing something different. The echo of the doorbell lasted just about the time it took for hurried footsteps to reach the top of the carpeted staircase. The footsteps stopped in front of my door. “Davi,” whispered my foster mother. I was then asked to hide in a rather spacious closet in my foster mother’s bedroom. A new game, I presumed, given that I was never allowed to play in her closet before. What seemed like an hour passed by, and I remember thinking whoever was looking for me must have been really bad at “hide and go seek”. Finally, the door opened. My foster mother took my hand and guided me down the stairs. There, stood two people, a woman and a man, in all black suits. My hand was placed in an unfamiliar woman’s hand and she brought me outside to a black car. Read more »

JS Blog Post June 15, 2014

The Spark of Resistance Ignited

Tina Reynolds

Prior to my incarceration, I never thought of becoming an advocate.  I was subsumed by old emotions that prohibited me from taking action.  My inability to assert myself stemmed from a fear of what the repercussion might be from those in power. This fear kept me in my place, making myself as small and unnoticeable as possible.  This was my experience until my last bid (prison term).  I carried remnants of being small and in my place with me throughout my relationships - with my family who had assisted me with my children and with the various systems with which I had to interface.  While in prison even though I knew and had been told that what I was experiencing was wrong, I knew I wasn’t the only one experiencing this, and so, I relied on other women who I viewed as stronger than me to act.  Read more »

Syndicate content