Children of the Incarcerated

Most of the Post-Prison Education Program students are parents with families who depend on them. Parents imprisoned or on “probation” in Washington have on average 1.91 children. Based on this statistic, the Program has a likelihood of serving approximately 150 children for every 80 parents.

Not only are most former prisoners parents, but their children are likely to follow their parents to prison. One of the first applications ever received by the Program was from a father who was imprisoned at the Washington State Penitentiary simultaneous to his two daughters being imprisoned at the Washington Corrections Center for Women. According to the Child Welfare League of America, Inc., children of people who are imprisoned are five to seven times more likely to be imprisoned.

The students of the Post-Prison Education Program continue to build healthy and vibrant relationships with their families, children, and communities. The Post-Prison Education Program’s students engage in Parenting classes, create successful, stable lives in which to raise their families and fight and win custody battles to re-unite families. It is a fact that children with emotionally healthy parents are significantly more likely to be successful in life.

The Post-Prison Education Program was heavily involved with the efforts to bring House Bill 2688 during the Washington State Legislature’s 2008 session, a Bill which kept families together and allowed for children and parents to build healthy relationships with a minimum of interruptions attributable to incarceration. Due to the advocacy of the Post-Prison Education Program and its allies, the Secretary of the Department of Corrections changed policy to discontinue the transfer of incarcerated parents to out-of-state prisons. The following link includes the story of a young boy who had lost visitation with his father and the triumph of bringing them back together again: