Posted on 7/6/2012 1:44 PM
A sweeping report released last month shows that what we’re doing here at the Service Network for Children of Inmates needs to be replicated throughout this country and others.
Exposure to Violence Among Children of Inmates: A Research Agenda gives credence to what we in this organization already know: that children of incarcerated parents are forgotten and overlooked in the criminal justice system, in social service circles, public health and schools – even as their numbers spike upward along with the numbers of adults who are being imprisoned.
In one of the most thorough nationwide studies on childhood exposure to violence as detailed in the report by Justice & Security Strategies, Inc. (they are the managing partner in our Network) it was found that in the general population, more than 60 percent of children were exposed to violence in the previous year. This means directly victimized, witnessing violent incidents or witnessing the aftermath of violent incidents.
What we in the Network, and with our partners, are working so hard on is to mitigate the aftermath for that subgroup of children who are most affected by violence – children of incarcerated parents.
In addition to the trauma suffered from the actual violent incidents, these children also face the loss of a parent or parents to the criminal justice system, which causes instability in the home environment and a higher likelihood of negative outcomes now and throughout their lives.
There is hope, however. It appears from this report that others in this country and elsewhere are recognizing that children of prisoners and their families need many services. Less than a year ago, the United Nations hosted a Day of General Discussion on the impact of incarceration as part of its focus on the rights of a child.
Join us in hoping that this becomes part of a national agenda to save our children.
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