Letter to the Editor: Alleviating the Pain When a Parent Is in Jail
From The New York Times:
To the Editor:
Re “Serving as a Role Model During a Father’s Absence” (The Neediest Cases, Dec. 21):
It’s nice to see young Jaylen benefit from the MentorCHIP program. But children whose parents are incarcerated need regular visits with their parents. Studies show that children’s emotional, scholastic and social adjustment improve when they have regularly scheduled visits to alleviate the pain of losing a parent.
Parents are placed in facilities so far from their children as to make visits expensive and difficult. Moreover, parents’ parole success is enhanced by visits, benefiting their children and the community, and we are missing that opportunity.
Even better, the state could work with community organizations to reduce incarceration in the first place. Affordable housing, employment, medical and mental health care, and violence prevention programs could reduce parental incarceration, which has been recognized as an adverse childhood experience that traumatizes and stigmatizes children.
Alternative sentencing could prevent the severe harms children and families suffer when a parent is incarcerated, and could better address the root cause of the offense. We would all do better to support children like Jaylen and challenge the cycle of incarceration if we promoted these policy changes.
GAIL T. SMITH
Director, Women in Prison Project
Correctional Association of New York
ALBANY, N.Y. – New York is adopting new standards for the treatment of prisoners held in solitary confinement in local jails, including mandated time outside their cell and increased reporting requirements in an effort to prevent prisoner mistreatment. The changes, issued Tuesday by the state's Commission on Correction, come amid heightened scrutiny of solitary confinement and its psychological effects on inmates.Read More
ALBANY — New York’s complex of 54 state prison facilities is struggling to fill vacant jobs for nurses, doctors and other health care providers. Filling those vacancies and dealing with an aging prison population at facilities across the state have become among the tallest challenges for the $3 billion correctional system, top administrators concede. In [...]Read More
Prison Monitoring Reports
Attica Correctional Facility, a 2,000-bed maximum security prison in western New York, continues to operate as a symbolic and real epicenter of state violence and abuse of incarcerated persons in the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) state prison system 43 years after the 1971 prison uprising and violent suppression by state authorities. The [...]Read More
Gabrielle Horowitz-Prisco, director of the Correctional Association's Juvenile Justice Project, testified before the New York State Legislature on the Governor’s proposed budget for 2013-2014.Read More