Upstate Issues: Reading for a Change

Reading For A Change

UAlbany Ph.d students Andrew Thompson and Tyler Bellick lead a project called Reading For A Change. 

"This is one of the things that we know, folks that are better connected, that have better support, that have more meaningful relationships with their children do better than those that do not have those sort of deep and consistent family connections." - Dr. David Hureau, Assistant Professor in the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany

When a person is sent to jail or prison it is hoped that their incarceration is the result of justice being served with the end results being that the community is protected from harm and the consequence of jail time is a deterrent to future crime.  But for the children of parents in prison there are real risks that the separation will have long-lasting effects on their well-being.  More than 100,000 children have a parent serving time in prison or jail in New York, according to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. What can be done to ease their pain?  And, what can be done to protect the family connections that will help prisoners reintegrate into society more easily after their release?  A group from the University at Albany School of Criminal Justice is testing one option which may have lasting effects.

In this podcast, Dr. David Hureau, Assistant Professor in the School of Criminal Justice, Kyle Maksuta, Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology and graduate assistant, and Tyler Bellick, Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology talk about the "Reading for a Change" program in which inmates are recorded reading a children's book.  The recording and book is then mailed to their child's home.  They talk about what we know about helping children and families when a parent is incarcerated and why programs like Reading for a Change are so important.

UAlbany Ph.d students Andrew Thompson from the School of Criminal  Justice (green shirt) and Tyler Bellick outside the Albany County Correctional Facility.  Thomspon, who was not available for the podcast is one of the leaders of the "Reading for a Change" project.

Photos courtesy University at Albany.  Photographer: Paul Miller

For more on Dr. Hureau click:

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