Children of Incarcerated Parents: Blog Team

Justice Strategies (Host)

Justice Strategies is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to providing analysis and solutions to advocates and policymakers pursuing more humane and cost-effective approaches to criminal justice and immigration reform.

Justice Strategies was launched in 2003 to alter the laws, policies and practices that drive mass incarceration and racial disparity in the U.S. criminal justice and immigration systems. A project of the Tides Center, Inc., Justice Strategies conducts research on sentencing and correctional policy, the political economy of incarceration, and the detention and imprisonment of immigrants. In addition to policy expertise, Justice Strategies offers expert advice in campaign development, and grassroots organizing.

Patricia AllardPatricia Allard (Coordinator)

Patricia Allard was an Open Society Institute Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow and is a research consultant at Justice Strategies. As an OSI Fellow she developed a ‘research to action’ initiative that resulted in child welfare reform, affecting over one million children whose parents are incarcerated. Allard's research and advocacy efforts encompass a broad range of topics, with a particular focus on the impact of criminal justice policies on low-income women and women of color.

Allard is an attorney who has consulted for Amnesty International and worked on staff at the Sentencing Project, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. She is the author of several journal articles, book chapters and national reports, including Life Sentences: Denying Welfare Benefits to Women Convicted of Drug Offenses (Sentencing Project, 2002) and Rebuilding Families, Reclaiming Lives: State Obligations to Children in Foster Care and their Incarcerated Parents (Patricia Allard and Lynn Lu, Brennan Center for Justice, 2006), Children on the Outside: Voicing the Pain and Human Costs of Parental Incarceration (Justice Strategies 2011).

Allard is a graduate of Queen's University Law School in Canada (1996), was called to the bar of Ontario in 1998, and received her master's in criminology from the Centre of Criminology at the University of Toronto (1999).

Stephanie FranklinStephanie S. Franklin, Esq. is the founder, President & CEO of the Franklin Law Group, P.C., a law firm that has provided legal representation to over 4,000 children in Maryland, and who have been abused and neglected. Mecca’s Place, Inc. is an empowerment center that provides education, policy advocacy & reform, and healing and empowerment services for women and children.

Franklin received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1994, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology from the University of Maryland – College Park in 1990.

Franklin has worked exclusively in the area of child welfare for fifteen years and has worked with communities of color, primarily African-American, for over twenty years. She is a member of the state of Maryland’s Legislative and Outreach and Programming Subcommittees with the Foster Care Court Improvement Project of the Maryland Judiciary; presented at several national conferences on the intersections of child welfare, criminal and juvenile justice, education, mental health , psychotropic medications, and human rights. Franklin has facilitated legal custody and empowerment workshops in prison for women, girls, men and boys. She most recently wrote and implemented the “Building Literacy While Building Identity” program for Black girls involved in the juvenile delinquency system. Franklin is published on issues pertaining to child welfare and criminal justice and has two upcoming publications this year regarding Black girls, school zero tolerance policies, and the school to prison pipeline.

Davian ReynoldsDavian Reynolds is a youth advocate and was one of the founding members of the New York State initiative for children of incarcerated parents. He has served on a variety of panels, both nationally and internationally, that spoke to issues of foster care, HIV/AIDS, and LGBTQ issues.  Currently, Davian is completing his undergraduate career at St. Lawrence University.


Tina Reynolds is Co-Founder and Chair of Women on the Rise Telling HerStory (WORTH). Women on the Rise Telling HerStory WORTH is an association of formerly and currently incarcerated women who have been empowered by their own experiences while involved in the criminal justice system and beyond.  Reynolds has received a Master in Social Work from Hunter College.  She is currently an adjunct professor at York, CUNY in the Psychology Department teaching the “Impact of Incarceration on Families, Communities and Children”.  She has published pieces on the abolition of prisons, the impact of incarceration on women and children, formerly incarcerated women and policy change. In addition, Reynolds is an editor of the anthology, “Interrupted Life: Experiences of Incarcerated Women in the United States”. 


Gail SmithGail T. Smith is the founder and past executive director of CLAIM (Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers), and currently serves as its Senior Policy Advisor. She earned her J.D. at New York University and her Bachelor’s at Barat College. She has represented thousands of women in family law cases. She developed CLAIM’s legal, volunteer, educational, and organizing programs. She wrote the Handbook for Incarcerated Parents in Illinois and When a Parent Is Arrested: Caring for the Children, A Guide to Legal Options and Resources. She provides legal training, public speaking and media interviews on incarcerated women and children of prisoners.

Smith led the effort to establish mother-child community-based programs in Illinois as alternatives to prison. She spearheaded legislation making Illinois the first state in the nation to end the practice of shackling women during labor and childbirth, and a bill protecting pregnant women against shackling in Cook County Jail. She has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the Illinois General Assembly, the Cook County Board of Commissioners and the Chicago City Council. Her awards include Chicago Tribune Tempo/Woman, New York University Public Interest Law Foundation, YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago Racial Justice Award, National Organization for Women/Chicago Women Who Dared, Chicago Foundation for Women Impact Award, and the White House Champions of Change.


Kimberly Waite has been involved in social reform projects all her life. Some of these projects have focused on marginalized communities, racial inequalities, reproductive justice, immigration status, and education for youth regarding safe sexual activity and practices. In 2012, Waite worked as an intern for Women on the Rise Telling Herstory as an organizer and helped with the nationwide launch of the Birthing Behind Bar Project. In 2013, Waite journeyed out to Australia to conduct research on the marginalization of aboriginal communities within the education system and the over representation of aboriginal youth in prison. Currently, Waite is a senior studying Anthropology at St. Lawrence University. In the coming months, Waite will be attending Clark University and starting a Master’s degree program focused on International Development and Social Change.

Monthly Feature

Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People's Movement Western Regional Conference

Convened by All of Us or None & Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

Sunday, September 20th & Monday, September 21st

Formerly incarcerated and convicted people, family members, community and spiritual leaders, elected officials and government employees will all come together to strengthen our relationships and work towards making change through community empowerment. We invite you to Voice your opinion, learn your rights and learn what changes we can make together. All of Us or None Contact: (415)-255-7036 ext. 337