Incarceration creates physical, mental, and emotional barriers among families. Trying to parent from within prison walls can be extremely challenging. Five million children in the United States (7%) have had a parent go to jail or prison.
Among children who have an incarcerated parent, more than half live with someone who has a substance abuse problem, compared with less than 10% among children with no parental incarceration.
Additionally, more than 1 in 4 live with someone who is mentally ill or suicidal and 1 in 10 have experienced the death of a parent.
The effects of parental incarceration on children are astounding - children of incarcerated parents are six times more likely to become incarcerated themselves (National Institute of Justice).
In this brief message, an incarcerated father reflects on his relationship with his son, and how HeartBound has helped him change their dynamic.
"I was a cynic at heart back then, knowing only the price of everything and the value of nothing. Forgive my misjudgment. Were it not for people like you, the world, prison notably, would be a gloomier place. HeartBound provided an opportunity not afforded to me for my first 21 years of prison. Had it existed long ago I truly believe in my heart that my relationship with my son would have been well-built, able to withstand the mightiest of storms. We lacked God, plain and simple, thus we had no relief from the harsh weather of life."