Washington

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 »

JS Blog Post October 25, 2017

An Update on Numbers for Native and Latinx Youth Supports Moves for Decarceration

Lill M. Hewko

This month, the Sentencing Project released their second and third fact sheets on racial and ethnic disparities in youth incarceration focusing on Native and Latinx* youth. We highlighted the first fact sheet on the disparities in incarceration for black youth here. Read more »

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

Read more »

JS Blog Post August 8, 2017

Alternative Solutions: Washington Parental Alternative Sentencing Program Highlights

Lillian M. Hewko

Washington State has been the leader in the creation of an alternative sentencing program that supports families. The numbers available in their most recent “Fact Sheet” (available here) show why need to keep moving in this direction. Not only are a majority of parents successful in the program, many children are able to avoid being placed in foster care and unncessary separation. 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 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 23, 2016

Washington Update

Patricia Allard

On January 15, 2016, the Washington State House on Early learning & Human Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Ruth Kagi, held a work session that focused on three distinct issues: (1) Prevocational Services Report, (2) Children of Incarcerated Parents, (3) Executive Session: 2SHB 1999, HB 2323.

The segment of the January 15th work session that addresses the issue of children of incarcerated parents starts at 31.21 minutes.  

http://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2016010089

In brief, during this segment you’ll hear from five speakers addressing the needs and concerns of children who have incarcerated parents. This work session provides important information about developments the state has sought out to address the needs of families entangled with the criminal justice system and child welfare services. Read more »

JS Blog Post February 10, 2015

Washington’s Parenting Sentencing Alternative: A strengths-based approach to supervision

Susie Leavell, Program Administrator, Washington State Department of Corrections

A sentencing alternative for parents in Washington State is showing great potential for reducing the rate at which parents return to prison after successfully completing the program. In 2010, the state Legislature passed the Parenting Sentencing Alternative, which has two components that allow parents of minor children to either avoid prison or to transfer early from prison onto electronic monitoring at home to parent. The Family and Offender Sentencing Alternative (FOSA) is a judicial sentencing option where judges can waive a sentence within the standard range and impose 12 months of community custody along with conditions for treatment and programming for eligible offenders who otherwise face a prison sentence. The other, called the Community Parenting Alternative (CPA), is a prison-based option that allows the Department of Corrections to transfer an offender home on electronic monitoring for up to the last 12 months of his or her prison sentence in order to parent.  Read more »

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