This project is proposed for the Sesame Street workshop organization which is a not-for-profit educational organization that operates the Sesame Street kids program (Sesame Street workshop Organisation, 2013) . The organization launched an innovative project called “Little Children Big Challenges: Incarceration” designed for children who have incarcerated parents (Sesame Street workshop Organisation, 2013). This organisation aims to render support, limit the child’s psychological trauma and encourage parents/ guardians to ensure that constant communication is keep between the children and their incarcerated parents (Sesame Street workshop Organisation, 2013).
The organization also provides direct parenting advice for guardians to assist them in comforting the child during this difficult period (Sesame Street workshop Organisation, 2013). Furthermore,the Sesame Street workshop Organisation (2013) provides age-appropriate language strategies for current guardians to use when explaining what incarceration is to children.
Children are left traumatised when incarceration separates them from their parents .This traumatic incident tends to have numerous adverse effects on various areas of the child’s life. This purpose of this research project is to identify the various behavioural, psychological and financial implications that African Americans children face when one or both of their parents are in incarceration .The various issues both parent and child face after re-entry will be also be examined. The key aim of this project is to undertake a field study with families and children who have strongly been affected by a family member’s incarceration specifically among the African American community. The project will be finalised by pointing out proposed ways to decrease the negative impacts of incarceration on African American families and children.
This research project will be conducted using mixed methods of research to collect data this will involve qualitative and quantitative methods including in-depth formal interviews, accompanied by survey questionaries’ and data from similar existing literature and a follow-up interview will be held within 1-3year intermissions. For the purpose of this research, a literature review will be utilised to help understand the link between African American mass parental incarceration and the negative consequences on their children.
Multiple research studies have proven that African American men are overrepresented in the incarceration system as there is a huge racial disparity in the American jails (Western and Wildeman, 2010 ; Perry & Bright , 2012 ; Geller, 2013. Lewis et al ,2007; Roberts, 2004). According to Western and Wildman (2009), there are more African Americans men than white men in jail, African Americans are nearly 10 times more likely to be imprisoned or logged into the criminal system than their white counterparts. This subsequently affects African American families in numerous ways, especially because of a vast number of children with incarcerated parents and encounter multiple various have long-term effects as a result of their parent’s incarceration.
The article from “Time magazine” posted on October 15th, 2015 titled “1 in 14 U.S. Children Has Had a Parent in Prison, Says New Study” raises the concern that mass incarceration is a possible threat to the psychological and financial well-being of the children (Jenkins,2015). Furthermore, Jenkins (2015) specified that African American children have a higher like hood of having an incarcerated parent. Nearly 15% of African American adolescents within the ages of 11 to 17 have had an incarcerated parent during their years as minors (Jenkins,2015).
Furthermore, a prior study by Mumola (2000) observed that more than 7% of underage children African American children in America had an incarcerated parent compared to only 1% of Caucasian children. In addition, Mumola (2000) stated that African Americans parents population was nearly half of the total number of the parents who are incarcerated in american jails ; however only a small percentage of the entire number of incarcerated parents were Caucasian.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of the study is that after intense research analysis, the data acquired from this project will give the organization and public readers an insight to the various short-term and long-term psychological and financial outcomes that mass parental incarceration have African American children. This study will also be valuable to end racism and sentencing disparities campaigns such as “Black Lives Matter”, “Stand Against Racism” and “The Sentencing Project”. This project will be useful for future research that aims to study the huge racial disparities that exists in the U.S jail systems. The issue of parental incarceration, especially within the African American community, has been a core topic for many years. Nevertheless, no action taken by organizations has successfully found a resolution to this difficult problem.