With more than 1% of U.S. adults in prison or jail, what happens to their children? A recent meeting of the Alameda County Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (ACCIPP) discussed issues growing out of the staggering number of arrested parents.
As Michelle Alexander points out in her book, “The New Jim Crow,” nearly a third of black men are likely to spend some time in prison, only to find themselves permanently stigmatized second-class citizens after they are released. Her book argues that the “War on Drugs” which filled America’s prisons with disproportionate numbers of African Americans and low income people, was really a continuation of a race war by other means, a social control program aimed at pushing back the gains of the Civil Rights Movement.
The Chronicle of Social Change reported that in a survey of 100 children of incarcerated parents conducted in San Francisco by Project WHAT!, 43 percent of the children had witnessed their parent’s arrest, and of those, 51 percent witnessed violence or abuse by an officer against their parent at the time of arrest.
“Because their parents are often stigmatized and demonized, it prevents people from understanding that these kids are like all kids in many ways, and they’re unlike all kids in many ways,” said Carol Burton in an interview with The Chronicle of Social Change. Burton is co-chair and coordinator of ACCIPP.
To read the Chronicle of Social Change story on the meeting, CLICK HERE