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
CA Applauds Commitment to Raise the Age in Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address, Laments No Mention of Racism, Violence, and Abuse in NYS Prisons
(January 9, 2016) New York, NY: The Correctional Association of New York roundly applauds the continued commitment of Governor Andrew Cuomo to raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York, ending the prosecution and incarceration of 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. It is now up to the members of both parties in the NYS Legislature to do their duty to make this a reality. In spite of the Governor’s assertion that the "nation looks to NY to find a way up," we actually fall behind 48 other states, along with North Carolina, by continuing to treat children as adults in the criminal legal system. New York must Raise the Age of criminal responsibility this legislative session. Read More
A petition has been signed by more than 2,100 people opposing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to reduce visitation at New York’s 17 maximum security correctional facilities. As of Saturday afternoon, there are 2,102 supporters of the petition titled “Don’t Restrict Visits in NYS Prisons!” The petition calls the governor’s plan to alter the visitation policy [...]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