LOVING THROUGH BARS: Children with Parents in Prison

Cynthia Martone, Author . Santa Monica $21.95 (204p) ISBN 978-1-891661-48-8

There are no happy endings here: according to Martone, an educational administrator and writer, 2.3 million American children are now growing up with either a mother or father in prison. Not only are these children "innocent victims," they are also "lost in a vicious cycle that often leads to future criminality and deviant social behavior." In occasionally strained prose, Martone provides dramatic and haunting testimony of the devastating impact parental incarceration has on children. This issue came to her attention when, as a school principal, she received a letter from the imprisoned father of two girls at her school: Steven, behind bars in Attica in upstate New York, asked for her involvement in the girls' education. Although the author made heroic attempts to forge a relationship between Steven and his children's teachers, the process came to an abrupt halt when he was transferred to another facility. Going along on prison visits, Martone witnessed the lengthy waits and dehumanizing entry routines the children are exposed to. Martone was concerned when one six-year-old, Catrina, expressed no emotion and little affection for her imprisoned mother during such experiences. With this moving anecdotal evidence of a tragedy in process, Martone issues a call to action for a problem that is often overlooked. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/17/2005
Release date: 01/01/2005
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