Day 27 – Devotional & Discussion April 4, 2014

Matthew 18:1-10

The children of the incarcerated are often collateral damage in our correctional system.  Currently 2.7 million children have a parent in prison.  Prisons isolate parents from their families.  Prisons are often located in isolated rural areas making family visitation practically impossible.  When mothers are incarcerated, children are usually placed in foster homes or group homes.  Children of incarcerated parents often experience shame from having a parent in prison and seldom get the emotional and spiritual support they need. Unfortunately, 70 percent of children with parents in prison will themselves be incarcerated at some point in their lives. 

Given the value that Jesus placed on children, what might Jesus say about this statistic?  Would you call our current correctional system a “stumbling block” for children?  If so, how?  What could you and your community do to “cut it off”? 

Prison Fellowship International has a program called Angel Tree that connects incarcerated parents with their children through gift giving.  Sesame Street has a “tool kit” to help children and their caregivers face issues of incarceration together.  For information about Angel Tree, link HERE

2 comments

  1. Wow. Those are some sobering statistics. Awesome about Prison Fellowship and Angel Tree. I have heard of both. Our church has participated in Operation Christmas Child, which gives gifts to kids in developing countries around the world. I wonder if we should look into Angel Tree. Maybe an every-other-year approach would be good.

  2. Our church has discovered CLAIM, Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers, that is working to maintain the bond between incarcerated mothers and their children. We have directly experienced the impact of incarceration of parents on children. The children have trouble bonding to and trusting adults. They are often disconnected emotionally and socially. They are often angry and express their anger through inappropriate behavior. We have to do more as a society to create safety nets for children and parents. Recent cuts to SNAP benefits is the wrong direction. We are cutting off the wrong things.

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