The Marshall Project

Let’s Make It Easier for Kids to Visit Incarcerated Parents

Nonprofits in a few states provide transportation to help children visit their imprisoned parents. Now New York may revive a state-funded free busing program.

When I taught elementary school in New York City’s East Village, a student’s grandmother pulled me aside to tell me that the boy’s mom was in prison. She wanted me to know so that if he misbehaved, or seemed upset, I would understand what might be troubling him, she said.

In the United States, 2.7 million children have a parent in jail or in prison, according to Pew Charitable Trusts. That’s 1 in 28 kids. Over the years, had there been other children in my care like the boy in my third-grade class? I may never know. The stigma of incarceration leads many families to stay silent.

We can speak up for children separated

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