National

JS Blog Post January 3, 2019

Darina Interview: Stories told by Children of Incarcerated Parents

Riley Hewko, Esq.

Two years ago, Patricia Allard and I wrote a Huffington Post blog highlighting a video of 8-year-old Darina’s wish for her father’s transfer from a federal prison in Texas to one in Oregon. It seemed like it would take a miracle, but with the help of her community he was transferred last year. Darina still can’t even think of the ultimate miracle— having her dad come home. 

This year I had the opportunity to chat with Darina, now 10-years-old about her thoughts on her dad’s incarceration, her most recent visit, and some advice for young people in her situation. You can listen to the interview here.

JS Blog Post December 5, 2018

Marshall Project Sheds Light on “How incarcerated parents are losing their children forever.”

Riley Hewko, Esq.

The Marshall Project released an article on December 2, 2018 titled “How Incarcerated Parents Are Losing Their Children Forever.” The article leads with a hidden fact about our “child protective services” when it comes to incarcerated parents: Read more »

JS Blog Post November 23, 2018

Save your Black Friday Spending to Instead Support Children of Incarcerated Parents for #Giving Tuesday

Riley Hewko, Esq.

Every year, on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving #GivingTuesday provides individuals an alternative to spending their money on “Black Friday.” This year consider staying away from companies that support the prison industry and instead donate to organizations helping children of incarcerated parents. The U.S has approximately 7 million people in prison, jail, probation or parole, 100,000 in juvenile detention, 478,000 in immigration detention.

JS Blog Post November 12, 2018

Veterans Day Focus: Incarcerated Veteran Parents

Riley Hewko, Esq.

On this Veteran’s Day 2018, as we honor our military veterans, it seemed appropriate to look at resources for incarcerated veterans who may have left children behind as they serve their sentences. Given the criminalization of living with addiction, mental health, and disabilities, former members of the US military often find themselves in trouble with the law. A study by RAND institute found that almost a third of people who survived combat in wars since 9/11 suffer from “invisible wounds,” such as a mental health condition or traumatic brain injury (TBI). This concern has led to the development of veteran’s courts, with the one criticism being that they are misapplied justice, as all people entering the justice system should receive similar support. A second criticism is that they are not provided to veterans who have committed violent or sexual assault crimes.

JS Blog Post October 29, 2018

Oregon State Continues to Lead in Supporting Children of Incarcerated Parents

Riley Hewko, Esq.

Oregon continues to lead in providing support for children of incarcerated parents. A recent training “Incarcerated Parents: Don’t Forget About Me” given earlier this month by Oregon Department of Corrections’ (DOC) Administrator of Programs & Social Support Services and the Department of Human Services (DHS) reflects a tone of changing attitudes often possessed by child welfare and prison staff. Specifically, the second and third slides of the presentation with their beliefs include: Read more »

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 »

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