Breaking The Cycle Of Recidivism Helps More Than Our Offenders!
“Hi daddy, I miss you. How come you haven’t called in a long time?” “Oh, baby girl, we have coronavirus here in prison so we’ve been locked in our rooms [cells].”
“Eeewww… Mom, you’re right, daddy is sick and bad. They put him in time out, too.”
“I don’t want to speak to you anymore, daddy!”
Gut-punching words for a father to hear during a pandemic that has forced a traumatizing lockdown.
“Mommy, why doesn’t daddy visit me anymore?”
“Daddy, why doesn’t mommy love me anymore?”
“Nana, why do you say bad things about my daddy?”
(Don’t Hate, Rehabilitate!)
Confusing words flowing freely from the mouth of a six-year-old whose father was imprisoned when she was a little older than two.
A mother left to raise her child alone, full of fear, shame and exhaustion, doing everything in her power just to survive. Getting high just to get by. Drinking here and there asking why?
Her inability to cope causes her to forget the needs of the child during the trauma, leaving scars that will forever form her child negatively.
Every word of negativity, fear and exhaustion further confuses and scars the child throughout the experience of the event.
“A child’s well-being is intricately linked to his/her parent’s well-being.”
When hurt people hurt others, once an offender is arrested, brought to court, found guilty and then sentenced to prison, as a society we pretty much have determined that justice is served and prevailed in our criminal justice system.
Is that really the case?
I really believe all that does is perpetuate the cycle to re-offend and also starts a generational stronghold on the family unit where healing doesn’t take place.
Hurt People Hurt Others, But Healed People Heal!
Healing from traumatic life events, such as a parent’s incarceration, can take on many forms.
Over 5.7 Million Children In The United States Have Experienced An Incarcerated Parent
Incarceration also affects and imprisons those in the family, work and personal lives, including parents, significant others, and sons and daughters. And with the increase in mass incarceration, we’re all being effected in some manner.
With a growing U.S. incarceration rate, it means that an increasing number of children (the forgotten and innocent victims too numerous to report) experience the imprisonment of a parent at some point in childhood or adolescence causing more childhood trauma.
And according to the National Institute of Mental Health, childhood trauma is defined as “the experience of an event by a child that is emotionally painful or distressful, which often results in lasting mental and physical effects.”
To make things worse, research also shows that parental incarceration negatively affects children’s educational outcomes and opportunities, according to the Sentencing Project.
Children’s Exposure to Parental Incarceration
Where there’s parental incarceration, this is considered an adverse childhood experience, which is defined as a potentially stressful or traumatic event that has lasting consequences for the child’s health and well-being.
Parental incarceration involves the removal of a father or a mother from the child’s household and/or daily routine. This removal is a traumatic incident for many children and may be accompanied by other corresponding traumatic experiences.
Rejection and abandonment issues arise developing fears and depression with the uncertainty in how long the parent will remain away.
Compassion Influences Culture
We can’t judge or hold back. If we do, we are robbing God of His blessings because we don’t know the unfolding of what their stories will testify to.
Removal oftentimes can be stigmatizing, too. This can produce shame leading to isolation that impedes social support systems, hinders interactions with both peers and teachers, along with children’s educational opportunities and outcomes.
A. Geller notes in “Paternal Incarceration and Support for Children in Fragile Families,” in the wake of parental incarceration, families experience a variety of challenges. These encompass economic insecurity, altered households and relationship dynamics and routines, changes in parenting, along with changes in parental health.
Given that most incarcerated parents, prior to their incarceration, were working, incarceration leads to an immediate decline in family income, an increase in material hardship, and an increased reliance on public assistance.
And unpealing further layers, there’s a significant correlation between childhood trauma and violence in the lives of those who are incarcerated themselves. Our incarcerated population have experienced their own traumatic childhoods contributing to their crimes.
Kingdom Influences Culture
Blameless and Forever Free Ministries is leaning in to rehabilitate our incarcerated and community through kingdom influences and restorative justice by focusing more on the traumatic childhood experiences and awareness in reaching the oppressed, both in our prisons and after release at our re-entry program center, as we operate under our belief that God’s Great Love Changes Everything.
Breaking the cycle of recidivism not only restores, rehabilitates, and saves society money, but it makes our communities safer and brings healing to the known and unknown victims by ending this generational cycle of reoffending.
Hurt Lives Hurt Others, But Healed Lives Heal!
Until next time…