Stories Beyond Bars: An Incarcerated Fathers’ Account of Visiting Behind Glass

We know that over half the population in men's prisons are fathers, and since the 1980s, the number of kids with a father in prison has increased 500%. Outside of a few state programs that allow for alternative sentencing for parents in WashingtonOregon, and most recently in Tennessee, nationally there are few options to keep families together, and even less so for families with parents housed in federal prisons. 

In this recorded conversation (2 minutes, 52 seconds), we hear from a father in a federal prison who has been incarcerated for much of his 10-year old’s life. In our conversation he describes her first visit with him at a federal facility where the only opportunities for visitation are through glass. Statistics can only get us so far in understanding the experiences of families facing parental incarceration. We need stories that can touch our hearts and move us into action. Justice Strategies seeks to uplift those stories to help impact larger systemic change. 

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to chat with his daughter, who is now 10-years-old. She spoke of her thoughts on her dad’s incarceration, her most recent visit, and some advice for young people in her situation. You can find a link to that interview here.


Resources for Children of Incarcerated Parents:

Focus on Children with Incarcerated Parents, An Overview of the Research Literature, C.F. Hairston, Ph.D. (October 2007),

Children of Incarcerated Parents, a Shared Sentence: The Devastating Toll of Parental Incarceration on Kids, Families and Communities (April 2016),

Justice Strategies Blogs highlighting other research and articles:



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Monthly Feature

Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People's Movement Western Regional Conference

Convened by All of Us or None & Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

Sunday, September 20th & Monday, September 21st

Formerly incarcerated and convicted people, family members, community and spiritual leaders, elected officials and government employees will all come together to strengthen our relationships and work towards making change through community empowerment. We invite you to Voice your opinion, learn your rights and learn what changes we can make together. All of Us or None Contact: (415)-255-7036 ext. 337