Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Father's Day to Incarcerated Dads

Every Mother's Day and Father's Day, the Get on the Bus project brings children to visit parents in prison. This laudable initiative should draw our attention to the fact that, for all other days in the year, many children still have incarcerated parents.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has issued a special report on parenthood behind bars. The findings are fairly grim; as many as 60% of fathers in prison do not have contact with their children. The racial distribution is distressing as well, and means that entire communities lack the experience of regular father-child contact.

Sesame Street's Little Children, Big Challenges, has stepped up to the plate and created a kit for children of incarcerated parents. This report includes various clips from the program. And while, as Time Magazine reminds us, the show cannot fight mass incarceration in its entirety, it is a small and important step toward acknowledging mass incarceration as an experience affecting a large number of American children.

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