Washington

JS Blog Post July 31, 2019

Join Justice Strategies August 6th, 2019 at the National Association of Sentencing Commissions’ Conference

R.B.H.

Join Justice Strategies at the National Association of Sentencing Commissions (NASC) on August 6th, 2019 in Virginia to discuss alternatives to sentencing programs for parents and the efficacy of Family Responsibility Statements. Riley Hewko, J.D., founder and former Staff Attorney of the Incarcerated Parents Project at the Washington Defender Association in Seattle will facilitate a discussion for Justice Strategies with Ebony Underwood from We Got Us Now in New York, Honorable Cathy Hollenberg Serrette of the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, Maryland, Susie Leavell, Program Administrator of the Family Offender Sentencing Alternative (FOSA) for the Washington State Department of Corrections, and Allison Hollihan, Senior Policy Manager at The Osborne Association. Read more »

JS Blog Post February 9, 2019

Voices of Children of the Incarcerated: Legislative Testimony SB 5291

D.G. and Patricia Allard

Hello my name is D.G. I am 10 yars old, I am a child experiencing a father in prison. My dad won't be able to expeience me growing up. There are times when I get really sad and want to call him but I can't. I've only got to see him 2 time in the last 4 years. thats because he's so far away. There are times when Ihave special events (for example: my first kick boxing match) when I won and I was sooo happy and at the same time I felt a little sad. I spent most my life without my dad. But also I spent most of my life with a sstep dad. Special holidays are hard for me (for example: Christmas, fathers day, my birth-day) because he's not there. When my Dad calls me at my aunt's house I get super excited. [And I want to say for the other kids out there your not alone iether its your dad mom or other family members or other people that you care about theres other people going thrue this. Even tho my dad cant come home early I woul dhope that other kids parents could come home faster there would be lots of benifit for each child. Please support this bill. Thank you Read more »

JS Blog Post February 4, 2019

Washington state calls to Expand Alternatives to Incarceration Again in 2019

Patricia Allard

 

Photo: T.Q. testifying in front of Senate Committee on video conferenced in from prison.

Success is not possible without opportunity.” 

-T.Q. Incarcerated Mother, Washington Corrections Center for Women Read more »

JS Blog Post January 3, 2019

D.G. 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 D.G'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. D.G. still can’t even think of the ultimate miracle— having her dad come home. 

This year I had the opportunity to chat with D.G. 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 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 27, 2018

The Family First Prevention Services Act Offers Support for Children of Incarcerated Parents

Riley Hewko, Esq.

Last spring, groundbreaking legislation, The Family First Prevention Services Act (“FFPSA”), was signed into law as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act allowing states to use federal funding to help keep families together and avoid out of home foster care placement entirely. Specifically, the legislation changes the way that Title IV-E funds can be spent by states by allowing funds to be used for prevention services that help keep kids at home or with their relatives. Prevention services include for example, mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services, in-home skill-based parenting programs, foster care maintenance payments for children with parents in residential family-based substance abuse treatment facilities, and payments for kinship navigator programs.

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 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 January 16, 2018

A Good Start to the New Year: Expanding Opportunities for Parental Diversion

Lill M. Hewko

 

 

A mother parenting and serving time for a violent crime with her son at the Washington Corrections Center for Women holiday event. Photo Credit: Maria Bryk Photography.

 

“Our love goes beyond bars.”

-T.Q. and M.L, Mothers at Washington Corrections Center for Women 

Advocates in Washington and Tennessee are providing an antidote to the terrible criminal justice efforts that the new year has brought us on the federal level. In Washington State, advocates today will be testifying to “Say yes to keeping families together” by supporting Senate Bill 5307.

SB 5307 is an effort to expand Washington State’s current alternative sentencing program which would allow to more parents to serve time in the community instead of behind bars. Specifically, the WA legislation will expand the law to allow more families stay together and reduce the negative affects of parent-child separation due to incarceration by: Read more »

JS Blog Post November 8, 2017

Reflections from an Incarcerated Dad

Lill M. Hewko

Nationally it is estimated that the number of kids who have had a parent in jail or prison at some point hovers around a conservative estimate of 5.1 million. For children with a parent in jail or prison, distance, cost, visitation restrictions, family conflict, and legal barriers can make it difficult for children to remain in contact with their parent. They may even lose that connection permanently as the Adoption and Safe Families Act is an even larger barrier for parents who are incarcerated. A young parent I work with, Daniel Loera, describes the importance of his daughter in his life,  as well as his young-adult insight regarding his own path to prison, his resilience, and his efforts to honor his family and find healthy community outside of gangs: Read more »

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