A statistic was recently released that revealed that more than 81,000 children in Pennsylvania have a parent that is state prison. The number is even higher when you include children who have a parent that is in Federal or county prison.
Trying to navigate early life without one parent is tough enough let alone navigating it with a parent in prison. The doubt and stigma that must accompany a child in this situation must be unbearable. Imagine the strain a child must feel having to explain to his friends that their parent is not in his or her life because they are in prison and then having to explain why their parent is in prison. All the obstacles that this person would face would probably increase the likelihood that they themselves will have a difficult life.
The criminal justice system doesn’t do enough to address this problem. When DA’s and Judges are evaluating whether a person should be removed from their home and their families not enough consideration is given to the impact that the incarceration will have on the children left behind. Instead, in a lot of situations, the children just end up being collateral damage.