Mass Incarceration

JS Blog Post October 15, 2018

Policy Brief: Helping Children of Incarcerated Parents & Children in Foster Care Calls for Alternative Sentencing and Keeping Kids at Home

Riley Hewko, Esq.

We know parental incarceration often leads to additional challenges for already disadvantaged and under-resourced families. However, it may also lead to the complete and permanent loss of the parent-child relationship. When parents go away to prison, other parents, caregivers, and/or family members must step in to provide support. If these parents do not have another parent or family who can step in, many of these children will end up in the foster care system. Based on numbers from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a majority of parents in state prisons have been in for 12 to 59 months and had 12 to 50 months left to serve. This time served is significantly more than the child welfare timeline allows and may lead to the permanent separation of families involved in the child welfare system. Read more »

JS Blog Post October 12, 2018

The Impact of Incarceration on Siblings

Riley Hewko, Esq. featuring poem by Incarcerated Father Mato Cikala

Glancing out my cell window,

as grainy salty tears drown my eyes to a blur.

One flows its way down my cheek              so                     slow

like rain on a window until it falls off my chin,

piercing my soul, reminiscing about my time growing up with my brothers.

 

I'm the oldest of three boys.

I hold this guilt

for taking our time together for granted

for leaving them to grow up without a positive role model

like an older brother should have.

 

Instead they have to visit their big brother in prison

With so many restrictions and limited time to show their support for so many years.

At the moment the youngest doesn't understand Read more »

JS Blog Post October 5, 2018

Study Update: Recent Study Shows Negative Public Health Impacts for Children with Histories of Parental Incarceration and Need for Decarceration Strategies

Riley Hewko, Esq.

A recent study confirms that incarceration is one of the major public health challenges of our time, not only for the people experiencing incarceration, but for children left behind. The study by Nia Heard-Garris MD et al, “Health Care Use and Health Behaviors Among Young Adults with History of Parental Incarceration,” found that young adults with histories of parental incarceration are less likely to use health care and more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors compared with peers without parental incarceration. Such findings urge policy makers to reduce incarceration rates and help children maintain contact with their incarcerated parents. Read more »

JS Blog Post August 28, 2018

United States Sentencing Commission - 2018-2019 Public Priorities Selection

Patricia Allard

Dear colleagues: 

  Read more »

JS Blog Post August 27, 2018

United States Sentencing Commission - Public Affairs – Priorities Comment

Patricia Allard

The Honorable William H. Pryor, Jr., Acting Chair

United States Sentencing Commission

1 Columbus Circle, NE, Suite 2-500, South Lobby

Washington, DC 20002-8002

August 10, 20018

 

Attn: Public Affairs – Priorities Comment

 

Dear Judge Pryor:

 

The undersigned applaud the Commission’s consideration of conducting “a study of the operation of §5H1.6 (Family Ties and Responsibilities with respect to the loss of caretaking or financial support of minors” as part of its policy priorities for the amendment cycle 2018-2019.  Recent research documenting the harmful impact of parental incarceration on children, as well as a growing interest from policymakers and practitioners to mitigate the long-term harms to children and their communities suggests that the time is ripe for research and policy reform to provide alternatives to incarceration for parents in consideration of their children’s needs.

  Read more »

JS Blog Post February 13, 2018

Washington State Senate Passes Bill to Expand Parental Diversion but Leaves Immigrant Families Out

Lill M. Hewko

Last Friday February 9th, 2018, the Washington State Senate passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5307 (ESSB 5307), which will help expand Washington State’s Family Offender Sentencing Alternative program beyond individuals with non-violent crimes and expands the definition of family to help keep more parents in the community. The bill now moves to the House Public Safety Committee for a hearing on February 15th, at 8am. Read more »

JS Blog Post December 13, 2017

Advancing Human Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents in the US and Across Global Frontlines

Lill M. Hewko, J.D.

 

Pictured: Justice Strategies on panel Discussion "Human Rights & Advancing Global Frontlines for the Long-term." From left to right, Rosalee Gonzalez, PHD, University of Arizona, Lill M. Hewko, Justice Strategies, Chief Thomas Darsar, United Houma Nation, Onaje Muid-Human Rights Cities Alliance.

  Read more »

JS Blog Post November 21, 2017

Justice Strategies' Parental Diversion Presentation to the Washington State House Public Safety Committee

Lill M. Hewko

On November 17, 2017, Justice Strategies was asked to present to the Washington State Legislature's House Public Safety Committee on the importance of parental diversion through alternative sentencing programs. Below is our full statement provided to the legislators:

Dear Committee Members,

My name is Lillian Hewko and I am a research and policy analyst with Justice Strategies, a nonprofit research organization dedicated to providing analysis and solutions to advocates and policymakers pursuing more humane and cost-effective approaches to criminal justice and immigration reform. We conduct research on sentencing and correctional policy, the political economy of incarceration, and the detention and imprisonment of immigrants.

Read more »

JS Blog Post November 21, 2017

The Rights of Children of Incarcerated and their Parents a Human Rights Issue

Lill M. Hewko

Justice Strategies (JS) is working to address the impact of parental incarceration on children as a human rights issue and will be attending and presenting at the 2017 Advancing Human Rights Conference in Atlanta December 7-10th. With over two million children in the United States experiencing parental incarceration, children of color are impacted disproportionately. In 2014, in response to advocacy by JS, the United Nations’ CERD Committee (Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination) made observations which included concerns on the negative impact of parental incarceration on children of color and called upon the US government to promote the use of alternatives to prison for parents of minor children. On July 24th , 2017, JS attended the US State Department’s Civil Society Consultation in Washington D.C. and made a statement to the department’s CERD Team urging the US government to uphold the observations regarding children of incarcerated parents at the federal, state and local level. We will continue to work to advance the rights of children of incarcerated and their parents as a human rights issue. Here is our full statement: 

  Read more »

JS Publication November 10, 2017

Elections 2017: Beginning of the End of Willie Horton Politics?

In this article for The Crime Report, Justice Strategies' Director, Judith Greene, raises the prospects that the 2017 elections may indicate signs that we are turning the corner away from politicizing crime. The results in off-year gubernatorial elections indicate that urban/suburban voters in both Virginia and New Jersey are no longer swayed by “penal populism.” Republican candidates were soundly defeated despite their attempts to gain political capital by stoking fears of an immigrant crime wave which does not exist.

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