Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pro-Family Policies For Offenders Benefit Everyone

Being jailed is often fatal to already fragile family systems
I have personally witnessed the harm our over use of incarceration can cause already fragile families, resulting in traumatized and neglected children, broken relationships, financial crises, and increased costs of foster care and other social services--things all of us taxpayers end up paying for. An important part of rehabilitating offenders is helping them maintain strong family and community ties.

Let's Promote Alternatives to Incarceration

We need to implement the many alternatives to incarceration that are included in the Moseley Architects “Community-Based Corrections Plan” recently approved by our Community Criminal Justice Board, the Harrisonburg City Council and the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors, such as the following:

• Day Reporting Program

• A Drug Court with alternative sentencing and treatment authority

• Home Detention Options, with or without the use of ankle bracelet technology

• Having more pretrial cases released on bond while awaiting hearings

Let's Implement More Family-Friendly Jail Policies

• Non-violent offenders not having to come to the visitation booth in handcuffs and prison garb

• Relieve families of the burden of having to pay $1 per day in "rent" for their family member before he or she can purchase things at the commissary

• Have commissary items priced more affordably

• Have inmates able to continue their meds without interruption while in jail

• Have more affordable phone services for regular family contacts

• Add a parenting and family relationship class in the jail

Let's Provide More Post Release Family Services

• Have local individuals or congregations offer mentoring for families of ex-offenders

 • Offer vouchers for pro bono relationship counseling provided by interested local professionals
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