The Importance of Celebrating Father’s Day in Prison

This Sunday across the United States, families everywhere will celebrate and recognize the importance of fathers.  Now imagine yours is behind bars, literally out of reach. This is the reality for over 2 million children in the United States, to whom Father’s Day often serves as a painful reminder of the limited role their parent can play in their life.

As the incarceration rate has exploded over the past three decades, so has the effect on children and families. New studies show that “fathers’ incarceration and family hardship, including housing insecurity and behavioral problems in children, are strongly related.”

Without strong authority figures and positive role models in their lives, many of these children inevitably face a number of adverse outcomes, including antisocial and violent behavior, mental health problems, school dropout, and unemployment.

These sad realities highlight the importance of Father’s Day in prison—an opportunity to re-solidify the bond between parent and child each year. And although it is a uniquely difficult time for many incarcerated fathers as they confront their limited role as caregivers, the day is celebrated nonetheless, and often in momentous fashion. Smiling children and mothers fill visitation rooms with colorful cards, gifts and shared activities. Check out heartwarming pictures from a Father’s Day celebration at San Quentin Prison in 2012!

Jessica, says goodbye to Abel, as she holds their five-year-old daughter Camila at San Quentin state prison

It is moments like these that we are reminded of how important maintaining these relationships are to the health and rehabilitation of both prisoners and the innocent families on the other side of incarceration. In fact, research proves that when offenders remain connected to their families, it not only helps their kids, but also protects the rest of us, reducing recidivism.

Donte, who said he has one year left in prison, reads a book with his daughters Cieara and Nicole at San Quentin state prison

American Prison Data Systems agrees that family preservation is key to reducing recidivism and should be a priority in our correctional approach. APDS’ custom built communication platform, Connected Corrections, offers secure, monitored messaging between family members at no cost. In conjunction with in-person visitations, APDS technology services enhance inmate’s connection to the outside world, allowing for a smoother transition back into the community.

We wish every parent in prison a Happy Father’s Day, and hope that our services help better maintain the bond a father shares with his children!

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