Hi, this is @gabrielabulisova and @markisa8, continuing our takeover of @smithsonianmagazine with a week-long focus on the impact of mass incarceration. Children are often the unintended victims of this failed policy. Kiya’s father is imprisoned with a lengthy sentence at State Correctional Institute – Graterford, about an hour away from her hometown of Philadelphia. Because their mother was unable to care for them, Kiya and her brother were placed with a foster family where they were thriving at home and at school. However, when Kiya’s father asked for her to be moved, Kiya was separated from her brother and shunted to several different foster care situations, changing families and schools repeatedly. Now, the only thing certain about Kiya’s future is that she remains separated from her family.
According to the Urban Institute, the experience of a parent going to prison will have a “significant impact on the emotional, psychological, developmental, and financial well-being of the child.” Children have difficulty visiting their parents and often lose contact. They drop out of school more frequently and are more likely to be incarcerated than their peers. Black children are 7 times more likely than white children to have an incarcerated parent.
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