State Representative Douglas McCrory’s Concerns Regarding the Governor’s Cut to the Children of Incarcerated Parents Program
State Representative Douglas McCrory
March 03, 2010
No one needs to be told that our state is facing an immense budget crisis. We are spending more money than we have and it is essential to find lagging areas of the budget to trim dollars in order to close the gap of an ever increasing deficit. However, we must be careful not to get too heavy handed with the axe we use to cut the budget. Granted, some cuts are necessary. But when we begin cutting programs that directly influence the future of our communities, towns and quality of life, we begin entering dangerous territory.
Governor Rell has proposed a massive $700,000 dollar cut to the Children of Incarcerated Parents Program which has shown in multiple states, including Connecticut, to be very helpful in assisting families that have been weakened physically, emotionally and financially by the loss of a parent(s) to the judicial system. “As an educator and legislator, I understand the importance to invest in youth prevention programs. Allotting money to the Children of Incarcerated Parents program would better stem the tie of generational incarceration.” Rep. McCrory said. “Yes, our state resources are scarce but we must recognize the ongoing deterioration of the family unit and our communities due to increasing crime rates and decreasing education.”
No matter how awful the crime may be, children should never be subjected to punishment for their parent’s actions. The Children of Incarcerated Parents Program helps soften the difficulties a child and their family may feel after a parent(s) has been incarcerated. Some of the numbers surrounding this important issue are positively staggering. About half of all children with incarcerated parents are under ten years old. The number of children with a father in prison increased from 881,500 in 1991 to more than 1.5 million in 2007 an increase of over 77 percent. During that time, the number of children with a mother in prison increased by 131 percent, from 63,900 to 147,400. Possibly the saddest statistic concerning this issue is the fact that one out of every fifteen black children has a parent in prison compared to the one in one hundred and eleven white children that have a parent in prison. The racial discrepancy in these numbers is too shocking to ignore.
It is the State’s duty to protect its citizens by putting away dangerous criminals but when sentencing the parent, we must be careful that we do not condemn the child. The effects on children who have an incarcerated parent are wide-ranging and often difficult to trace. However, the most common effects on the child and family include emotional and behavioral health issues, the family’s stability/cohesiveness and more often than not financial security. The most dangerous effect to both children and our community is the fact that children with incarcerated parents are six times more likely than other children to be incarcerated as adults.
State Representative Douglas McCrory (7th District – Hartford) is currently serving his third term at the Connecticut General Assembly as an Assistant Majority Leader. He is also the Co-Chair of the Appropriations/Judicial & Corrections Subcommittee and is a member of the Appropriations Committee, the Education Committee, the Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee and the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus.
Reprinted with permission of the NorthEnd Agent's.
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