Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Good Idea: Family Days for incarcerated parents

When kids grow up with parents in prison, they're much more likely to go to prison themselves as adults- according to some estimates 6-8 times more likely. Indeed, I've come to believe keeping kids and parents apart often punishes the kids, in many cases, in much more profound ways than it does the adult who committed the crime.

Via Skelly at Arbitrary and Capricious, here's an idea from Washington State that Texas' prison system should imitate: Family Days for incarcerated parents, in Washinton State particularly targeting fathers. Reports the Olympian ("Events keep jail from separating dads and kids," Aug. 20):
During typical inmate visits, friends and family members must sit at tables in a room that can get loud and crowded. At the back-to-school event - and others like it throughout the year - inmates and their children are allowed to roam freely outside and in the center's gymnasium. There are games and music and at lunch, there's a barbecue.

For a moment, it feels like life outside of prison.


Anonymous said...

Excellent. Good points about the situations in prisons and how we could learn from other states. Have you seen the PBS documentary, Troop 1500, about the scout troop that unites daughters with mothers in Gatesville?
Way too little being done about the children and eventual cost of all this incarceration... In fact, I'm working with an activist, Diane Wilson, on a new non-profit called the Texas Jail Project, to call attention to conditions for women in county JAILS, which is a whole nightmare unto itself.
If you have a moment to talk, please email me and let's exchange numbers. Appreciate what you're doing.

Anonymous said...

It says on the blurb for Coffield unit on the TDC web site that they have 'Father & Son' days. Does anyone know exactly what they entail, and how often they happen (if at all)?