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More than 2.7 million children in the U.S. have an incarcerated parent: that is 1 in 28 children. Approximately 10 million children have experienced parental incarceration at some point in their lives. According to one study, 59% of incarcerated fathers and 58% of incarcerated mothers had no personal visits from any of their children. In addition, incarceration can decrease a parent’s confidence in their own ability to successfully parent. Even very young children can sense the parents doubt and may reject the parent as unpredictable, unloving, and uninvolved. When the incarcerated parent feels rejected by or isolated from their child, they may be more likely to act out in a correctional setting.
Aunt Mary’s Storybook, a program in which Companions Journeying Together operates in 17 correctional facilities across Illinois, helps to address an incarcerated parent’s ability to parent and connect with their children. This unique program allows incarcerated parents to pick out an age appropriate book for each one of their children. With the help of our organization, they record themselves reading the book to their children, and then the book and recording is mailed to the child.