Mass Incarceration

JS Blog Post September 20, 2017

Youth Incarceration Numbers are Down But Racial Disparities are Up--A New Fact Sheet from The Sentencing Project

Lill M. Hewko

Last week The Sentencing Project released its first of three fact sheets on racial and ethnic disparities in youth incarceration. State by state analysis shows that despite long-term declines in youth incarceration overall, racial disparities continue to grow. Read more »

JS Blog Post September 5, 2017

Sentenced to Lose: A message from a Young Incarcerated Father

Lill M. Hewko and Daniel Loera

This blog is part of a series documenting fatherhood and incarceration via Daniel Loera’s story. In many ways Daniel’s story can be seen as a success story of our juvenile justice system’s ability to support our youth. But, unfortunately his story doesn’t end with his success in overcoming mental health challenges, his own relationship to his trauma, or his ability to establish a relationship with his daughter from prison. In addition to success, he has experienced the injustice of harsh juvenile sentencing and the inability of alternative sentencing and/or clemency to provide him and his family a “safety valve” out of prison. Now he has received the ultimate punishment: the termination of his rights to his daughter.

JS Blog Post May 26, 2017

A Local Response to the White House: Denver Passes Jail Sentencing Reform & Aims to Help Immigrants, Families and Our Communities

Lillian M. Hewko, J.D.

Just this week, on May 22nd Denver City Council approved a comprehensive bill that reforms sentencing ranges for low level infractions and in doing so will protect immigrants from deportation. As many people sentenced to jail-time are parents, such changes will largely affect children of incarcerated parents by mitigating the negative emotional and behavioral outcomes caused by separation. The changes can also help avoid unnecessary separation and termination of parental rights for those involved in the child welfare system or in family law custody cases. In 2009 alone, more than 14,000 children entered foster care due at least partly due to the incarceration of a parent

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s office proposed the ordinance and stated: Read more »

JS Blog Post May 12, 2017

National Mama’s Bail Out Day: Taking a Stance & Reuniting Families Torn Apart by the Criminal Justice System.

Lillian M. Hewko, J.D.

What is the best way to maintain contact between children and their incarcerated parents? To get them out of jail in the first place! As reported by the Huffington post, this week just before Mother’s Day the Black Lives Matter Movement created “National Mama’s Bail Out Day” to give mothers (queer, trans, immigrant, young, elder and disabled) the greatest give of all—the gift of being with their children instead of being held in jail simply because they cannot afford bail.

Each day the cost of bail is devastating for parents (of all genders), families, and communities across our nation. In California alone, it is estimated that over 60% of individuals are held on pretrial bail—meaning they haven’t been convicted of a crime, they just can’t afford bail. A recent report by Justice Policy Institute found that bail bond companies take billions from low-income people with no return on investment in terms of public safety, and instead, create added costs to communities. Read more »

JS Blog Post May 10, 2017

Children of Incarcerated Parents in the United States: What We Know and What We Still Need to Learn

Megan Sullivan

By: Megan Sullivan*

This is the first of a three-part series on children of incarcerated parents. My thanks to Justice Strategies for allowing me the opportunity to participate in this series.

I come to the topic of children with incarcerated parents from several vantage points. First, I was ten years old when my father was arrested and received a two-to-five-year sentence for larceny. I know firsthand that while the relationship between a parent’s incarceration and a child’s outcomes is not obvious or proscriptive, there are important reasons to pay attention to this relationship. Read more »

JS Blog Post April 21, 2017

No Way Out for Parents Charged with Violent Crimes

Lillian M. Hewko, J.D.

“Now that I have a child of my own, I want to be in her life and show her that I have changed into a responsible adult.” –Daniel Loera, 21 years old, Monroe Correctional Facility

Daniel is one of the 45 percent of men in prison under 24 years old who are fathers. Daniel, featured in our last fatherhood blog, wants nothing more than a second chance so that he can help parent his 4-year old daughter, but Daniel has no no way out anytime soon. He is serving a 7.75-year sentence for an assault he committed when he was 16. With no options for an early release and with his daughter in foster care, he may permanently lose his parental rights. Read more »

JS Blog Post April 7, 2017

“An Unlikely Partnership”: A New Film Fostering the Possibilities of Alternatives to Incarceration for Parents

Lillian M. Hewko, J.D.

I got arrested 5 days before my kid’s 6th birthday, they’re 9 years old now...I was just so low. Not being able to see my kids. Having to call on the phone. Having to ask, is this Brianna or is this Michaela. There shouldn’t ever be a point in my life where I don’t know whose voice I’m hearing.”

These are the words of a formerly incarcerated mother from in a recent film “An Unlikely Partnership: Strengthening Families Touched By Incarceration.” These words exhibit the reality that although the time spent parenting from the inside is invaluable, the pain of being separated and not being able to parent on a consistent basis is heartbreaking. Fortunately, in this mother’s case she was able to get early release to be with her twins at about 12 months under the Family Offender Sentencing Alternative’s (FOSA) Community Parenting Alternative (Early Release) in Washington State. Read more »

JS Blog Post March 28, 2017

Grasping at the Root: A young father's path to incarceration.

Lillian M. Hewko

This is the first in a series of blog posts on fatherhood* and incarceration by Justice Strategies featuring Daniel Loera, a 21-year-old father of a 4-year-old daughter, currently serving time at Monroe Correctional Facility in Washington State. Daniel is navigating both the prison and child welfare systems in an attempt to maintain his parental rights.

Daniel was 16 when he committed the crime of assault. Along with a cousin, and under the influence of drugs, he followed two strangers outside of a Walmart to rob them. Daniel beat the young man he had followed with the butt of a gun and then fled the scene in his cousin’s car, only to be picked up two blocks away and then identified in a lineup. He was automatically charged as an adult, sentenced to 7.75 years of prison and 3 years of community custody.

When I sit across from Daniel, I can hardly imagine the young man described in the police report. When asked about his young self, Daniel says: Read more »

JS Blog Post February 27, 2017

Damaging Impact of Parental Incarceration in Louisiana

Patricia Allard

The Times-Picayune's multi-part series on the impact of parental incarceration on children shines the light on the experiences of children  and their families as the navigate to choppy waters of the Louisiana correctional system. While the series focuses on Louisiana, millions of children across the nation live through very similar experiences. It's time to protect children's right to family. 

Family Sentence

JS Blog Post December 12, 2016

International Human Rights Day – Call to Action for Our Children's Lives!

Patricia Allard

International Human Rights DayCall to Action!

Yesterday, December 10th, was International Human Rights Day. Now that we have celebrated and honored this tremendously important day. Please welcome this CALL 2 ACTION to ensure we advance the well-being of each and everyone of us and work together to make the world a safer and more joyful place to thrive in.

Children of Incarcerated Parents Read more »

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