How children are affected by an incarcerated parent


When a mom is convicted of a crime and her punishment is incarceration, what happens to her children who are left behind?

Jessie is a mother of four. She’s serving a prison sentence for crimes involving her drug addiction. She says she’s happy her children are in the care of their grandparents, but she’s worried about how they’re being affected by her absence.

“People should not look at kids any different because their parents are incarcerated because it is not their fault. Kids shouldn’t get picked on because, ‘Oh, your mom is in jail, your mom is in prison, your dad’s gone too, they don’t love you.’ That’s something my kids have had to deal with and it’s not fair, it’s not right either,” Jessie said.

Jessie acknowledges she hasn’t always been a good mother, and has worked on her parenting skills with help from classes and programs in prison.

According to Child Trends, five million American children, or 7 percent, have had at least one parent in prison at one time or another.