In our country, there is a population of youth that society hardly ever seems to mention. These children attend our local schools, live in our neighborhoods, play on neighborhood sports teams, are enrolled in preschool programs – and are living a life that has been shaped and defined by trauma. These are the children of incarcerated parents.

Nationally, there are more than 120,000 incarcerated mothers and 1.1 million incarcerated fathers who are parents of minor children. In Pennsylvania, 181,000 children have an incarcerated parent. That’s more than the number of students attending the 14 Pennsylvania State System universities combined. In Allegheny County alone, more than 8,500 children have one or both parents incarcerated.

These children have become victims of circumstances that are not of their own making. The trauma of having an incarcerated parent triggers a host of social, emotional, and economic consequences for the child. These children are often victims of homelessness, poverty, poor educational opportunities, and crime. They are more likely to experience learning difficulties, behavioral issues, and social problems.

That’s why the Victims No More Campaign is committed to ensuring that the 181,000 children in Pennsylvania with an incarcerated parent are just that: victims no more.
Victims No More is a statewide coalition initiated by our friends and clients at Amachi Pittsburgh and composed of nonprofit, criminal justice, and health organizations, as well as experts from across the state. Its mission is to break the cycle of intergenerational incarceration via effective prevention programs.

The research shows that Early Intervention and prevention programs can reduce trauma and produce better health and educational outcomes for children. By investing in prevention and Early Intervention, not only can we offer better lives to these children by helping ensure that they never see the inside of a prison cell themselves, but we can also mitigate the $42,000 in costs incurred by taxpayers to house one inmate annually.

To learn more about the Victims No More Campaign and to add your name to their growing list of supporters, please follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.