I am a statistic:
Two-point-four million American children have a mother or father in jail or prision right now.
The children of prisioners suffer from anxiety and attention disorders, or from post-traumatic stress. They are likely to bounce from one care-giver to another;
Fortunately, I don’t fit the statistics in other ways:
..to have and to cause trouble in school. Often poor to begin with, they get poorer once a parent is arrested.
These children are far from blind to their parents’ failings-they live with them every day , and they have more at stake than anyone in seeing their mothers and fathers rehabilitated, and living within the law. But in one way or another, most say the same thing: things were hard. Mom got arrested. Things got worse.
In my case, things got a lot better, but mostly because of things that had nothing to do with the crimes my mom went to jail for. The reality is that my mom’s life would be much better if she were getting psych and drug abuse treatment rather than being in prison, and we would probably worry about her a lot less.
Politically, this is the part of that article that jumped out at me, but I don’t know enough about the issue know what the solution is:
“A successful corrections system doesn’t grow”, criminologist Stephen Richards has observed. “If they were correcting anybody, they’d shrink”. As our failing prison system continues to expand its reach, more and more of our children fall under its shadow, denied the light of parental attention they need in order to grow.
I may be a statistic, but none of these statistics means that I have to turn out a certain way. There are a lot of my mom’s footsteps I don’t plan to follow.