Racial Disparity

JS Blog Post February 26, 2015

Garnering Support for Policy Change: Family Impact Statement

Allison Hollihan, Program Manager, Osborne Association’s New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents

This blog focuses on the needs of children and how Family Impact Statements (FIS) can ensure that the needs of children whose parents are involved in the criminal justice system are considered when important criminal justice decisions are made; it’s a story of progress and ongoing work to be done. A Family Impact Statement contains information about a defendant’s minor children and parenting responsibilities and describes how various sentencing options might affect these. When public safety is not compromised, FIS may support an alternative to incarceration or a shorter sentence length to minimize collateral consequences. However, FIS are not commonly used and garnering support for policy and practice change can be challenging. Here, we share how the Osborne Association’s New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents collaborated with New York State (NYS) probation professionals to encourage the inclusion of FIS in pre-sentencing investigation reports for the courts. Ultimately, we rebranded FIS as a Family Responsibility Statement (FRS) to garner the support needed to encourage the inclusion of information about a defendant’s children and parenting responsibilities in pre-sentence investigation reports developed by probation officers in New York State. Read more »

JS Blog Post January 28, 2015

Fourth post - Hill Briefing on Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in the USA - Wednesday, September 4, 2014, Washington, D.C.

Patricia Allard

Glenn Martin is a criminal justice reform advocate and founder of JustLeadership USA. Glenn addresses the reasons why we need to focus our efforts on decarceration. "I've seen it [decarceration] work, and because I've seen the damage prison causes individuals, families and entire communities."

JS Blog Post January 20, 2015

Third post - Hill Briefing on Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in the USA - Wednesday, September 4, 2014, Washington, D.C.

Patricia Allard

In this presentation to Hill staffers, Patricia Allard lays out opportunities for improvement. With a three-prong recommendation, Pat explores how we can begin to mitigate the impact of parental incarceration on children. Please stay tuned for more segments of this timely Hill briefing.

JS Blog Post August 28, 2014

Children of Incarcerated Parents and Psychotropic Medications

Stephanie Franklin, Esq.

Drugging foster children with mind-altering drugs called psychotropics, is a common practice.  It has gotten so outrageous in the last 10 years that it has garnered national media coverage and the U.S. government’s attention.  Because of this, the government has held congressional hearings, hosted conferences and convenings, and enacted legislation to remedy the issue.  Grassroots advocates, activists, parents, and foster parents saw this widespread increase in the use of psychotropic medication on foster children and pushed for the government to deal with this issue. Working on the ground, with people, directly, is powerful!  It keeps you connected to the people that matter and focused on conquering and eliminating injustices that permeate the lives of marginalized populations.  I bring this issue to your attention because it highlights and underscores the vulnerability that children of incarcerated parents face – trauma and possible, over-medication of psychotropic drugs. Read more »

JS Blog Post August 25, 2014

Hill Briefing on Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in the United States -Wednesday, September 3 from 11-12:30pm in RM 2253 Rayburn Building, Washington, D.C.

Patricia Allard

Hill Briefing

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson Hosts

Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in the United States

 

“When my mother was sentenced, I felt that I was sentenced. . . She was sentenced to prison – to be away from her kids and her family.  I was sentenced, as a child, to be without my mother.”

- Antoinette, an adult, who was 8 years old when her mother was incarcerated[1]

When: On Wednesday, September 3, 2014 from 11-12:30pm

Where: Rayburn Building Room 2253

What: Please join Justice Strategies to examine how Congress can foster family integrity by offering alternatives to incarceration for parents convicted of non-violent drug or drug-related offences. Read more »

JS Blog Post August 21, 2014

United Nations Hears About the Impact of Parental Incarceration on Children

Patricia Allard

Formal Briefing on the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at the Palais des Nations, United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland: The Children's Right Work Group of the US Human Rights Network (pre-recorded video presentation) presented a powerful statement, encompassing the following concerns: over medication and use of psychotropic medications of Black girls, child labor primarily affecting Latino children in the US, necessity for alternatives to incarceration of parents convicted of non-violent drug offenses and children of color's right to family wellbeing and integrity, concerns about trying youth in adult courts who are sentenced to adult prisons, school to prison pipeline, and removal of Indigenous children from their People.

Presenters: Stephanie Franklin (Franklin Law Group), Julia Perez, Patricia Allard (Justice Strategies) and Angelo Pinto (Correctional Association of NY). Videographer: Bo Yih Thom, Breakaway Addiction Services

JS Publication August 13, 2014

Justice Strategies CERD Report on Alleviating Impact of Parental Incarceration

In this brief report, Justice Strategies researcher Patricia Allard argues: 1) for judges to be allowed the discretion to sentence parents to alternatives to prison, and 2) to require, under federal and state law, that Family Impact Statements be submitted to the court prior to sentencing determinations.  These arguments form the basis of Justice Strategies' civil society shadow report submission to the 85th Session of the United Nation's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) taking place in Geneva, Switzerland the week of August 10th, 2014.  Follow Pat's reporting from Geneva on our COIP blog, Facebook page and Twitter feeds.

JS Publication August 13, 2014

Justice Strategies Testifies before US Dept. of State on Border Crossing Prosecutions

In this testimony provided to the US Department of State, Justice Strategies' Director, Judith Greene discusses our concerns with the tremendous increase in misdemeanor and felony prosecutions filed against those crossing the border under 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1325 and Sec. 1326, respectively, from 2002 to 2013.   In addition, we express our concerns with the segregated, sub-standard prisons being exclusively administered by private, for-profit prison corporations under contract to the US Bureau of Prisons.  This testimony is provided as part of the reveiw of the US government by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination being conducted in Geneva.  Follow our reporting on the proceedings in Geneva on Facebook and Twitter.

JS Blog Post August 8, 2014

United States Government on the Hot Seat for the Detrimental Impact on Children of Parental Incarceration

Patricia Allard
 
The United States Government is under review at the 85th session of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The Committee is being asked to seriously consider: What can the United States Government do to address the psychological, emotional and physical needs of Indigenous, African-American and Latino children who face parental incarceration? As a member of civil society, Justice Strategies offers the following two suggestions as an opportunity for the Unites States government to honor the needs of children.
JS Blog Post July 15, 2014

FREE HER Rally

Patricia Allard

On Saturday, June 21, 2014, the Families for Justice as Healing (http://justiceashealing.org) held a historic gathering, FREE HER Rally, on the Mall in Washington, D.C. The FREE HER rally and campaign was organized by women and others who support the ending of mass incarceration. The goals of the Free Her Rally were to "(1) raise awareness of the increase in the rate of incarceration of women in the United States and the impact on our children and communities, (2) Demand an end to voter disenfranchisement for people with felony convictions and (3) to ask President Obama to commute the sentences of women and men in the federal system who have applied for commutation." (http://justiceashealing.org/free-her-...)

Andrea James, the force behind Families for Justice as Healing and the organizer extraordinaire behind the Free Her Rally, closed the rally with a powerful call to action, asking participants to keep advocating for sentencing reform for parents who have minor children on the outside. Watch James' call to action.

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