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2.7 Million Children Have a Parent in Prison

Prisonpath posted previously an article about “Sesame Street helps the Children of the Incarcerated.” The United States has the largest prison population in the world with 2.3 million inmates. Over fifty percent of the incarcerated have children under the age of eighteen. One of every twenty-eight kids in the United States has a parent locked up.  When a parent is imprisoned, the effect upon their children is devastating. The loss is far more than economics. The foundation of family life is shattered. The Sesame Street episode told the viewers about one real family in which a single parent, the mother, was imprisoned for embezzlement. The oldest child dropped out of high school to take care of the younger children. It was now his job to walk his young brother to the school bus, take his little sister on the subway to her school, explain why mom was not there, and worry about having food on the table for the following week.

The Florida Department of Corrections and Sesame Street hosted an event in hopes of helping children of incarcerated parents cope with the reality of that incarceration. The event was held at dozens of correctional facilities across the state of Florida including the Mayo Correctional Institution on Saturday, Aug. 17. Besides regular visitation, there were planned activities including the Sesame program on children of the incarcerated. In one part of the show, several kid muppets and an adult are sitting outside on the stoop of their apartment building. Alex, a blue-orange muppet is crying about his classmates at school making fun of him because his father is in jail. The classmates have  taunted him, “You will end up in jail just like your dad.” Alex is consoled by all on the stoop that it is not his fault that his parent went to prison.

Florida’s Mayo Correctional Institution Warden Scott Crews commented, “This is a nationwide event. Florida is one of 10 pilot states to sponsor this event in our nation,” said Mayo Correctional Institution Warden Scott Crews, “we have partnered with Sesame Street to focus on the children of incarcerated parents.”

In Florida, there are over 64,000 children under the age of 18 who have an incarcerated parent. Almost 2.7 million children in the United States have a parent in state or federal prison. Despite this staggering figure, there are very little resources devoted to helping the children through this devastating, life-altering situation. Hopefully, this event will signal a new era  of change for the children of the incarcerated.


5 Responses to 2.7 Million Children Have a Parent in Prison

  1. PrisonPath August 24, 2013 at 12:50 am #

    Peter– “This is an embarrassment to our country on every level. The only reason many people are in prison, is due to the politics of greed and corruption that have allowed people in positions of authority to profit from incarcerating people for no good reason. This is especially true of many state “family” court systems that routinely raid parents retirement accounts, savings, even forcing the liquidation of children’s college funds under the threat of imprisonment – all to pay a small army of “court appointed experts” who do nothing in the actual best interests of children of families.”

  2. PrisonPath August 24, 2013 at 12:52 am #

    Brent–“Well said… “

  3. PrisonPath August 25, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    That is quite a big number and it has become an issue and concern , Government and civil society, religious organizations and other responsible citizens , need to come up with a comprehensive program to address this issue. These are children and they will form up the future of this nation and the whole world. If you say the matter doesn’t concern you, then you are pretending to be living on Planet Mars.Therefore, you need to arise and be part of the solution to make these children access education, shelter,and other basics in life to make them live a meaningful life in the future.,
    By Rev. Shalom

  4. PrisonPath August 27, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    You know my thoughts on this but, I believe it needs repeating. Anyone can do this plan;
    We believe that children do what you do, they are who you are. They do not do what you say or what you teach verbally, usually , and they, simply are who you are. That is why, we believe, that 80% of an offenders children end up in prison. They become who you are.
    When you are saved, the Holy Spirit changes your definition. You are a new person. Unfortunately, many people do not understand that Christ died not only for their sin, but for their shame and guilt as well. So, you need to see yourself in a new light.
    We believe that if you change the definition that you have of yourself, you will be different. Accept that you are completely changed.
    Unfortunately, the world at large does not forget easily. So we are planning to come along side a person and hire him/her and while working, teach him to be a business owner. No more apps, stares, explanations… You not only own your own business, you will then teach someone to do the same.
    We will send him to SCORE, the SBDC, Mi Casa… and what ever they learned that day, we will spend that week teaching them how it applied to our business. We will help them with research and their biz plan… We are thinking it will take a year. Then when they are ready to start, they will start in our building, hire a former inmate to work with and eventually train and build up clients/customers. Then , when they are ready, they will strike out on their own and we will start the process again.
    We need prayer. No one thinks it can be done. And we believe that with God all things are possible ! So, please pray and if you can add anything to this plan outline, please feel free to comment.
    By Karan

  5. PrisonPath August 27, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    What a tragedy this is. And what will we do to stop it? Doesn’t look good.
    By Brian

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