In America, 1 in 12 children are experiencing parental incarceration. That’s more than 5.7 million children under the age of 18. With an incarceration rate of over 2.2 million and rising, this is a growing problem in our nation.1 What’s being done about it? What can we do to fix it? All questions we’ve asked ourselves as well.
Studies have tried to capture the experience of a child with incarcerated family members and measure the impact on the familial unit. Numerous negative outcomes have been observed in children with incarcerated parents such as depression, anxiety, aggression and delinquency. The incarceration period can be incredibly traumatizing for children and, unfortunately, not the end of traumatic situations for children of a felon trying to readjust back into society. Basic needs become nearly impossible to obtain such as jobs, low-income assistance, governmental support, voting and family reunification. All are situations children of an incarcerated parent are thrust into without a choice. Such negative outcomes can become life-altering for these children. Often these traumatizing events during childhood lead to committing a crime and aggression as these children have nowhere else to go and limited means of help.
Parental incarceration induces household instability, childhood homelessness, and increased dependence on public assistance. The effects of parental incarceration are often generational. On top of the financial and employment difficulties parental incarceration ushers in, it causes great divides within families. Women who are incarcerated more than 15 months are more vulnerable to losing their parental rights permanently. 2 Not only the children, but the entire family suffers from incarceration.
Jobs become increasing challenging to obtain once a formerly incarcerated individual re-enters society. Aid becomes incredibly challenging to secure. Financial hardships become real. Families have trouble finding ways to take care of their children, and eventually, if there’s not a break in the line, these things all lead to another generation of incarceration.
How can we change the story? One of the ways VendEngine has tried to answer that question is by developing The Resource Project. This platform works as a resource hub connecting incarcerated individuals and their loved ones to resources and jobs. VendEngine is using partnerships with +300 facilities across the nation to connect incarcerated individuals and their families with resources via The Resource Project.
Using state-of-the art technology and connections with facilities, VendEngine has positioned The Resource Project as the hub for resources for these individuals in hopes to make a difference for good in this community. VendEngine works with non-profits from all over the United States to develop a database of resources. The Resource Project was created to be a hub for jobs and a tool to connect families with resources when resources are simply not available to them due to their incarceration history.
The Family Center, a Nashville-based non-profit, is a partner for the Resource Center that works to solve the needs of parental incarceration in Tennessee. Connecting resources with those in need is how VendEngine hopes to help rewrite the story of recidivism.
To find out more about the Resource Project, check out www.theresourceproject.org. To get more involved with what the Resource Project is doing to make a difference with incarcerated individuals and their families, reach out here.
1.) Vera – Institute of Justice –https://www.vera.org/blog/more-than-5-million-children-have-had-an-incarcerated-parent
4.) The Family Center – https://www.familycentertn.org/our-mission/