According to the Bureau of Justice, “…more than half of the American jail and prison inmates have symptoms of mental health disorders but less than one third of those with problems are getting treatment behind bars.” The mental health needs of female offenders are consistently shown to be higher than those of the men, with an increased incidence of depression & anxiety disorders, self- destructive behavior such as self-mutilation and phobic disorders. “Stress, depression, fearfulness and suicidal thoughts/attempts have shown to be strong predictors of women’s recidivism but not for men’s recidivism.” (Benda, 2005)
Did you know that 10 million children between the ages of 4 – 18 have one or both parents incarcerated at this moment? And that 79% of these minors are abruptly uprooted from their homes, neighborhoods and schools to live with extended family members while about 10% become wards of foster care. Children who end up in foster care stay there longer or never get to leave state’s custody.
65% of the children who have an incarcerated parent will also be incarcerated someday. Incarcerated mothers are placed in correctional institutions 160 miles further away than incarcerated fathers, making it almost impossible to visit with children. We need to do something now to break this vicious cycle.