Consider the Children! Free the People!

Where's my Mommy and Daddy?

I am writing on behalf of the children whose parents have been placed in prison for long, unnecessary, harsh sentences which do not prove helpful to inmates, the general population, or taxpayers. Tax payers are spending on average of $26,000 annually, per inmate, to incarcerate them. Most inmates are in prison for the sale of illegal drugs, and many are serving 20 years or more, with a large percentage of inmates serving time for a first offense. Many of those incarcerated are parents, whose children are suffering from the loss of their mothers and fathers.

Recently Congress made a very nice gesture and made the law less severe for those who are first time offenders; however, our federal prisons are crowded with mothers and fathers who will NOT benefit from this new law, since it is NOT retroactive. It is with great sadness that congress has overlooked the impact that this has had on families. The children are without the love, and financial support of both parents for most of their lifetime, as a result of these long sentences. Taxpayers are forced to pay the cost of housing these inmates, and providing for their medical care. While there are far too many single parents trying to carry the burden of taking care of the children who have been left behind. These children would greatly benefit from having two parents to care for them; however, as a result of the long sentences imposed they are suffering financially and emotionally. According to Julie Stewart, President of Families against Mandatory Minimums, "One in every 28 children under age 18 has a parent in prison." This takes a devastating toll on families; especially the children.

Currently, the Federal Prison system does not offer federal parole, and inmates only receive 53 good days per year. This will allow a prisoner who has been sentenced to 20 years to be released after serving 17.05 years! Children are no longer children after 18 years, many will never know their parent as a child. These children will not have their parent there to attend their graduations in elementary school, middle or high school. Many inmates may not even survive an additional 17.5 years. If a man who is 35 years is sentenced to 20 years, and serves 17.5 years, he will be 52 years old when he is released. How many years will the child have to spend with their parent, in reality, when he or she is finally released?

Please President Obama, and Congress, we urge you to do something to allow these children an opportunity to share a life with their missing parents. Many inmates would give anything to have this second chance to play with their children; to see them do things that children love to do, such as riding their bike for the first time, losing their first tooth, graduating from kindergarten, and so on... We ask that you do something to help rectify this oversight. Help the families to be reunited again. We are asking that you reinstate federal parole for good behavior.