With 2.4 million people currently incarcerated, there’s a “growing awareness that parents who do go to prison do not suffer the consequences alone.” Their children are more likely to drop out of school, engage in delinquency, and subsequently be incarcerated themselves, as much as “five to six times” more so, with many finding themselves deprived emotionally, socially, and financially. Upon parental incarceration, a child’s life is “interrupted and altered” and “punished as well.” They often experience trauma which exacerbates mental health issues, school failure, substance abuse and delinquency. If the family unit manages to remain together, it faces social challenges, such as, lack of financial support, social alienation, and the stigma associated with a parent in prison.
Of incarcerated parents more than half do not even see their children during their incarceration, thus only by intervening in the lives of incarcerated parents and their children to preserve and strengthen positive family connections, can positive societal benefits be yielded in the form of reduced recidivism, less intergenerational criminal justice involvement, and promotion of healthy child development.
There is a critical need for intervention in the form of mentoring services for the children and families of incarcerated persons to increase the degree of engagement with one another during the incarceration and to increase the chances of successful reunification of these families following the release of the incarcerated parents. CTS accomplishes this mission through the provision of one-on-one weekly mentoring services with children, ages 6 to 20 years, and the use of the Virtual Visitation Center for remote visits with incarcerated parents. Mentors report to CTS on the need for supportive services and case managers take action to see that they receive needed supportive services. Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, this program will commence providing services in January 2016. Mr. Anthony Powell, Program Director. 215-430-0381 ext. 0.