CIP Related News

Activists Fight for Children on the Path to Criminal Justice Reform

Estimates vary but the number of U.S. children today who have experienced parental incarceration at least once in their childhood is roughly 2.2 million, according to a government approximation. The Connecticut Children with Incarcerated Parents (CTCIP) Initiative said in a statement to Cheddar, that supporting the maintenance of a positive and stable relationship allows the child to experience less trauma and stress while the parent is in prison, resulting in better mental health and behavioral outcomes.

 

Winners and losers: The 2019 legislative session

Our telecoms bill, which would have made prison phone calls free for inmates’ family members, cleared two key committees and almost made it to final vote in the House. We received lot of support from the community and though the bill didn’t go through this year, we will continue to fight and be ready for next year.

 

Prison inmates shouldn’t have to pay for phone calls

Families of prisoners pay far too much for phone calls. My family spent approximately $9,000 during the six-plus years I spent at York Correctional Institution just to talk to me, to plan what needed to be done for upcoming court appearances, to allow me to wish my father well as he headed into open heart surgery. To reduce this burden on Connecticut residents, Representative Josh Elliot introduced HB 6714 — An Act Concerning the Cost of Telecommunications Services in Correctional Facilities — which passed out of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary last month and might pass before the close of this legislative session. It would make Connecticut the first state to provide free phone calls to prisoners — if it has Gov. Ned Lamont’s support.

 

Inmate Phone Call Bill Advances

Diane Lewis has spent about $250 a month in phone calls for more than a decade to stay in contact with her 33-year-old incarcerated son. Although her son will be released soon, she said she was speaking for the thousands of mothers behind her when she stood in support of HB 6714 which would make phone calls from state prisons free during a press conference Tuesday. “There are mothers who haven’t talked to their sons in years” because of the cost of the calls, Lewis said. “I always pay the phone bill first, even if it means paying the cable bill late.”

 

Elizabeth Warren weighs in on Connecticut prison-call debate

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a presidential candidate, weighed in on the debate among lawmakers in Hartford on whether to make phone calls free for inmates in state prisons.
A bill to make calls free is pending in committee in the state legislature, and Warren gave her endorsement of the proposal on Twitter. Warren Tweeted Saturday: “Incarcerated Americans shouldn’t have to pay to talk to the people they love. I stand with the activists in Connecticut who are working to make prison calls free.”

 

Advocates rally for passage of a bill that would make prison phone calls free

Advocates for a proposal that would allow inmates to make free telephone calls were heartened when the bill was endorsed Tuesday by the legislature’s Appropriation Committee and forwarded to the House of Representatives. James Jeter, who was in prison for 19 years and is now a Trinity College student, called the vote “a Herculean lift that no one thought would happen, except those pushing it. I just hope it doesn’t get stalled,” Jeter said. “It deserves a vote.”

 

Bill that would make prison phone calls free sent to the House

Advocates for a proposal that would allow inmates to make free telephone calls were heartened when the bill was endorsed Tuesday by the legislature’s Appropriation Committee and forwarded to the House of Representatives. James Jeter, who was in prison for 19 years and is now a Trinity College student, called the vote “a Herculean lift that no one thought would happen, except those pushing it. I just hope it doesn’t get stalled,” Jeter said. “It deserves a vote.”

 

While Prisoners Struggle to Afford Calls to Their Families, States Are Making a Profit. This Must Stop Now

Connecticut, with the exception of Arkansas, charges more for a phone call in prison than any state in the country. Connecticut charges $4.87 for a 15-minute collect call, which is 32 times more than the state with the lowest phone rate, Illinois, which charges 14 cents for 15 minutes. The Connecticut bill, as it is currently written, would also ensure that if the state were to implement video conferencing, which a growing number of states have begun to do, that such communication would remain free as well—an important provision, given the rising cost of video-conferencing in other states.

 

Connecticut Governor Is Stonewalling Free Prison Calls Bill

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat who grew his personal fortune through the telecommunications industry, is stonewalling a bill that would establish Connecticut as the first state in the nation to make phone calls from prison free for incarcerated people and their families. Securus Technologies, the national prison telecommunications corporation that Connecticut has contracted with since 2012, has been quietly lobbying against the legislation for weeks, though it reversed course on Wednesday.

 

Connecticut considers making phone calls free for prisoners

Marlene Torres sometimes must choose between paying a bill or paying for phone calls that allow her 12-year-old foster son to talk to his father in prison. “The child has some behavior (issues) at school because his dad is in there,” said Torres, 27, of Hartford. “He needs to talk to him, because he does much better when he talks to him.” Torres is among those pushing Connecticut lawmakers to pass legislation that would make the state the first to provide free calls from prisoners. Currently, inmates or their families pay $4.87 for phone calls of up to 15 minutes, the second-highest rate in the nation.

 

Connecticut considers making phone calls free for prisoners

Former inmate Daryl McGraw, who now works with Central Connecticut State University’s Children with Incarcerated Parents Initiative, said he spent 10 years of his life in and out of prison for drug-related offenses.He said the inability to make regular phone calls meant he didn’t learn that he had become a father until two days after the fact. McGraw said it would also put an end to an underground prison economy in which inmates sell phone-call time and some weaker inmates are forced to make phone calls for gangs or stronger inmates, who don’t want to pay.

 

Connecticut Legislators Push For Free Prison Phone Calls

Connecticut legislators are hoping to pass a bill that would make phone calls from prisons in the state free. Currently the high cost of communication between prisoners and their families has negative consequences. Brittany Kane, program coordinator for the CIP said the fees can be devastating for low-income families trying to maintain relationships with loved ones who are incarcerated.

 

Legislators consider making prison phone calls free Judicial Branch says measure would cost it $5.5 million in lost revenue

At a hearing before the Judiciary Committee, Torres spoke in favor of a bill that would allow inmates to make or receive phone calls for free, telling lawmakers she grew up “stressed out” and “very depressed” because she missed her brother, who was a father figure to her. Brittany Kane, program coordinator for the CIP, also spoke in favor of the bill, telling lawmakers that a 15-minute call within the state’s prisons costs about $4.

 

The difference a visit can make, the effect of parental incarceration on children

When Suzi Jensen went to see her mom in prison at the age of 12 she was only allowed to hug her twice, once at the beginning of the visit and once at the end. “They just had tables and you had to sit across the table from her,” said Jensen, now in her 30s. “At that age, being a 12-year-old girl, there were a lot of things happening, big changes and not being able to sit and cry and talk to her was terrible.”

 

A hard look at what prison means for the kids left behind

One in every 14 children in the U.S. has had a parent in prison. For poor families, it’s one in eight. They are the collateral damage of a mass incarceration movement that has made the U.S. the nation with the most prisoners in the world. For the past nine years, it’s been the job of Aileen Keays Yeager to figure out what that means for children in Connecticut.

 

Listen to the recent interview with the CIP Initiative’s Program Manager, Aileen Keays Yeager on WTIC’s At Home in Connecticut

Aileen Keays Yeager discusses the newly interactive website designed for children and families experiencing the incarceration of a loved one. The CIP initiative also released a study that dispel the common myths and investigates issues surrounding parental incarceration that are frequently not considered.

 

New Connecticut Report Focuses on Children of Incarcerated Parents

Interview by WNPR, a new report commissioned by two Connecticut organizations looks at the challenges children face when their parents are in prison. One of those groups — the Connecticut Association for Human Services — to see what they found and how they plan on using the results to guide future policy conversations. Also hear from a college student whose father spent nearly a decade behind bars.

 

CCSU initiative helps kids with parents behind bars

Children of parents who are incarcerated face challenges that other kids can’t even imagine. There can be a loss of income, a loss of the person who loved and cared for them, a loss of dignity and a quiet shame that is often hidden from classmates, teachers and friends, said Aileen Keays, a research specialist with Central Connecticut State University’s Institute for Municipal & Regional Policy.

 

How Incarceration Effects the Children Left Behind and What You Can Do To Support Them

What is the value of a child’s bond with a caregiver? Over time our society has gained awareness and compassion – and has put systems in place – for children separated from one or more parents. It is widely understood, in a general sense, that a child separated from their parent or primary caregiver will struggle. Yet this awareness does not translate when incarceration is the cause of that separation.

 

Connecticut official wants prison nursery for new moms

Under Connecticut’s current policy, the mothers are allowed to stay with their newborns only while in the hospital. After that, and usually within 48 hours of giving birth, the parent returns to prison, and the child is placed with a relative or in foster care.

 

Camp Helps Prisoners’ Kids Cope

The camp is headquartered at Dixwell and Argyle at the Believe in Me Corporation (BIMEC) social services agency. Aileen Keays said that for kids of incarcerated parents, “One of the biggest issues is stigma and isolation of talking about it, which can be very harmful. By meeting other kids with similar life challenges, it helps them better deal with the challenges.”