More than 2.7 million American children have at least one parent in prison. In most cases, it’s the father, but mothers make up a growing percentage of parents behind bars.
Advocates say when moms from low-income communities are sent to faraway prisons, the effect on families can be devastating.
We talk with Colette Payne, a community organizer at Cabrini Green Legal Aid and a formerly incarcerated mother herself, about the push to allow mothers serving time for low-level crimes to do it in their communities instead of in prisons that are hours away from their homes.
We’re also joined by Kim Bellware, a Chicago-based reporter for the Huffington Post who wrote the recent report, “Putting Moms in Prison Punishes Their Kids, Too.” She fills us in on this issue and talks about how the budget impasse is affecting reunification programs that allow kids from Chicago to visit their mother at downstate correctional facilities.