Two words that are too rarely utilized in the same sentence are family and incarceration. Prison officials throughout the United States have taken great strides in bringing awareness to family involvement and reentry/recidivism. Imprisonment impacts everyone involved, the convicted and their partners, spouses, children, parents, and grandparents.
According to a report published on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website, African-American children are more likely to have an incarcerated parent than Caucasian children. The report revealed that in 2008, 6.7% of African-American children had an incarcerated parent, compared to 0.9% for Caucasian children.
The minute a mother enters incarceration, the responsibilities of raising her children fall into the laps of her family members. A strong family network will help keep the children out of the welfare system. But, life changes are still inevitable. The impact begins the second the children are uprooted from their homes.
A survey released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics revealed the number of minor children with incarcerated mothers was approximately 65,600 (midyear 2007), compared to the 744,200 incarcerated fathers.
In 2018, the average daily inmate population in Maryland was 19,151, according to the Division of Correction.
What Does Family Support Mean To Incarcerated Inmates?
For individuals incarcerated, family support could be the difference in surviving and thriving in prison. It can also be the difference in a successful reintegration and recidivism. The recidivism rate in the United States is 67.5%, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Recidivism is not going to go away any time soon. But, family support combined with the inmate’s cooperation to participate in programs offered by the DOC will help. Inmates are encouraged to participate in prison-based drug treatment, cognitive-behavior therapy, and general and vocational education programs.
You can help by providing financial support whenever possible, making visits a priority, participating in prison-based family strengthening programs, being proactive in reentry programs, and helping raise awareness for family support in the criminal justice system.
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