Issues and Facts
  • Inmates Learn To Be Better Parents By Studying About The Brain

    Posted on   11/19/2014  1:20 PM

    We are teaching the inmates participating in our program all about the human brain. We want them to understand how our brains respond to trauma – and how their children suffer from trauma when their parents are arrested, incarcerated and separated from them for a long time.

    Our thinking is: if inmates understand the basics about brain trauma, they will hopefully be inspired to help their children reduce the tension in their lives, a step that will ultimately lead to the inmates becoming better parents.

    Children of prisoners suffer trauma often because they were left confused and uncertain about the future of their parents, not knowing if they are safe or hurt. It’s long been known that the incarceration of parents has severe, unseen consequences for their children. Children need access to their parents so they know their mothers or fathers, or both, are fine behind the barbed wires and thick walls of prison.

    So we’re teaching incarcerated parents to understand what happens to their children’s brains when they suffer trauma. We are literally showing them models of the brain and having them take the models apart to see the cerebellum, cerebral cortex and corpus callosum. It’s even an activity parents and their children do together on our prison bonding trips.

    The response from the inmates, so far, has been positive. Many are intrigued, asking lots of great questions.

    We hope this inspires inmates to do the following: write letters to their children, call them at home, participate in video conferencing (where available) with their families, and being truly present during family visitations. From inside prison walls, these are all the ways to remain relevant in the lives of their children who need their parents for advice, support, and, most of all…love.

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