Target: Colette Peters, Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections
Goal: Save a program successfully strengthening the bonds between incarcerated mothers and their children, thus reducing the risk of repeat offenses
Keeping former inmates from returning to jail or prison is a top priority of the criminal justice system. Repeat offenders cause society, and their own families, a tremendous amount of suffering. The financial cost of locking up someone behind bars is equally high. Why, then, is the state of Oregon eliminating a successful program that has connected incarcerated mothers to a major motivation to stay out of trouble: their children and families?
None of the participants in Coffee Creek Correctional Facility’s Family Preservation Project have returned to jail or prison following their release. The program kept these mothers in touch with their children’s caregivers and teachers, taught parenting skills, provided group counseling and encouraged regular family visits while the women served out their sentences. Because of the relatively high cost per inmate served the Department of Corrections has decided to end the program despite its overwhelming success.
Filmmaker Brian Lindstrom has made the program and its impact the subject of his latest documentary. “By nurturing the sacred bond between mother and child, The Family Preservation Project transforms the lives of inmate moms and their children,” said Lindstrom in an interview with Street Roots. “By keeping this vital, life-changing program alive, we all benefit.”
Don’t end this crucial link between mothers serving time behind bars and their beloved children. Urge the state’s Department of Corrections to continue and expand the Family Preservation Project.
Dear Director Peters,
I understand that the Department of Corrections must carefully weigh the cost and benefit of vital programs in order to balance funding cuts. But discontinuing the Family Preservation Project is no solution to budget shortfalls. While the per-inmate cost may be high the program’s success shows it should be replicated at other sites, serving more inmates including fathers, rather than eliminated.
When a person reoffends the cost to society is great. The impact on inmates’ families is even greater. Without the promise of a relationship with their children to keep them going, many inmates struggle to reform. Kids who lose contact with an incarcerated parent, cut off from that parental support and encouragement, are also more likely to turn down a path of crime themselves.
By supporting efforts like the Family Preservation Project you can help end this vicious cycle. Please preserve this transformative program and ensure its continued funding.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: TaniaVdB via Pixabay