Help children hurt by over-incarceration.
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The criminal justice system in the United States locks up too many people for too long at too great a cost. It is in serious need of reform. Yet another consequence of over-incarceration is the collateral damage done to children whose parents are incarcerated.
Research shows that children with an incarcerated parent have statistically significant increases in mental health and behavioral problems, and lower standardized test scores. Given that half of all incarcerated individuals have one or more minor children at home, approximately 2 million children are impacted by over-incarceration.
These impacts go beyond the children, and can affect entire peer groups for generations, causing a greater decay of communities and an increase in incarcerations, all of which will be borne by the taxpayers.
When it comes to keeping families together, we need to look beyond politics and benchmark the impact that over-incarceration has on children across the country. We need to be smarter and more compassionate with our criminal justice system.
That’s why we, the American Conservative Union Foundation, have issued a bipartisan request for the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) to research the impact of a parent’s incarceration on minor children.
This research is vital because with more data, the Commission could modify the Sentencing Guidelines and allow judges to take children and families into account when sentencing individuals for nonviolent crimes. By doing so, the Commission can reduce the effects of parental incarceration on innocent minors.
Please sign our petition asking the U.S. Sentencing Commission to undertake a substantial study to better understand the effects of incarceration on the children of those incarcerated, and how it may even affect those who associate with children whose parents are incarcerated.
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