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October 8, 2018

Highlighting the importance of policies that support families values for the incarcerated

The group R Street has this notable new policy paper titled "The importance of supporting family connections to ensure successful re-entry" authored by Emily Mooney and Nila Bala.  Here is the paper's introduction and conclusion:

As of the latest estimates, approximately two million individuals are currently incarcerated in the United States. Each of these has a family, which broadens the impact of incarceration to millions of family members across the nation. This brings negative repercussions: incarcerated parents are separated from children, interpersonal relationships become strained and financial support disappears.  Furthermore, federal, state and local policies often present barriers to meaningful and continued family connections while incarcerated. Yet, paradoxically, it is during this time that positive family connections are so key.  Indeed, they are critical to successful re-entry after a person’s time is served, as they help encourage individual transformation, mitigate the negative impact of incarceration on children and other loved ones, and support stronger families in general.  This, in turn, makes communities safer.  For these reasons, society can benefit by understanding the importance of these connections and creating policies that help to bolster them for the good of incarcerated individuals, their families and their communities at large....

Behind most incarcerated individuals is a family that is critical to encouraging positive change on the inside and supporting them as they prepare for life on the outside.  Despite this, government policies and family circumstances often impede the ability of families to stay connected during incarceration.  However, changes to government policies, community-based partnerships and the expansion of family-oriented programming can help families overcome these obstacles, with great benefit both to individuals and to society as a whole.

October 8, 2018 at 09:34 AM | Permalink


Upon release from prison and a halfway house, most felons who have family live, at least initially, with family members, until they get back on their feet. When I served my Federal sentence, I will never forget one poor, black inmate from Southeast D.C. whose entire family died during his sentence, so he had no family remaining to help him. Within a 2 year period of time, his Mother died of a heart attack, his sister died in a car accident, and his brother was stabbed to death on the streets of D.C. And he didn't get a furlough to attend any of their funerals either.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Oct 8, 2018 11:34:53 AM

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