Families of incarcerated individuals, the leftovers of our nation’s criminals. What happens to them? There should be a charity for the poor, unattended, not raised by a parent often their only parent, lonely, confused kid who somehow thinks they are the bad ones who broke the law. It is a problem in America that needs to be addressed. There are so many children who have adults in jail now. The kids represent a entire population of displaced families. Does this help society?
Can a kid tell someone that their dad or mom is in jail and somehow not feel like they are bad? Quite often there is not an extended family to step in and raise these kids. Now what? The courts often do not even address the problems until there is a problem of neglect reported. There are still problems. Emotional problems and financial problems are there even if junior hasn’t stolen anything yet or lashed out in violence at someone yet. I say yet because that is bound to happen without any real help for the innocent raised around the not so innocent criminal taken out of the home. They were still mom or dad and were given unconditional love by their children.
Most adults do not even know how to break the news to the kids. Now there is a little help being offered by our good old friends we all grew up with at Sesame Street. They are writing scripts now for their favorite characters to discuss. Little children having to deal with the big challenge of incarceration. A big word for jail that is hard to spell. Melissa Dino is overseeing a Sesame Workshop Program aimed at helping families cope with the epidemic.
There are not many resources on a child’s level for them to explore themselves on the subject. The new documentary will not air on the regular Sesame Street program but will be distributed to therapists offices, schools and prisons. 2.3 Million Americans are currently in prisons. America has the largest prison population in the world. That means that one in every 28 kids in the United States have a parent in prison up from one in 122 to 1 in 125 just a few years ago.
When I grew up there was always a nun or priest in everyone’s family. Now there is always someone that went to jail. The 3 Million minors don’t want anyone to know a parent is in prison. They don’t even know how to express their feelings. How can they still love someone who had done so wrong? It is confusing to say the least. They are still learning right from wrong in their young lives.
When you have a puppet with an orange face and blue hair, he doesn't speak to a particular race, he speaks to all children. His colorfulness makes us race and color blind and that is a good thing. Sesameworkshop has in recent years tackled issues from divorce to unemployment to death for the children. Since our youth is raised in front of the TV anyway, why not give them something positive to get them through their young lives other than watching their older brother play Grand Theft Auto video game.
More than 50% percent of people in jail have a child under the age of 15. The issue of being able to talk to daddy but not being able to touch him is explored. The effect of a young child walking into a building with armed guards, barbed wires, and the intimidating search process is shared with them. It is hard on Mom too who cries everyday because Dad messed up big time and she is left alone to raise the children, work multiple jobs to feed and pay bills and at the end of her difficult day be alone at night. What did she do wrong to be punished in this way?
I say close the prisons that are just places to train people to be even better criminals. Make the bad guys work multiple jobs to feed their families as well as other families. Teach them good skills to make them a better person when their time is done. Prison is a place to get three free meals a day, so no food bills. A warm place to stay, no heating bills. No real job to have to excel at so no work pressures. No wonder the bad guys don’t mind going right back there.