New Art Exhibition at Alcatraz Highlights Impacts of Incarceration on Children
District Attorneys Gascon & O'Malley to be honored for restorative justice
Jun 11, 2015, 04:28 ET
SAN FRANCISCO, June 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A new exhibit, The Sentence Unseen: Portraits of Resilience, launches June 13 and illustrates the impact on children and families when a loved one is imprisoned. Much of the exhibit features testimony from children of incarcerated parents and art created by incarcerated parents. Produced by Community Works and hosted by the National Park Service on Alcatraz Island, the exhibit includes photographs, visual diaries and multimedia artwork work by photographer and Community Works executive director Ruth Morgan and visual artist Dee Morizono.
"We are just beginning to understand the effects of mass incarceration on children, youth and families," said Morgan. "It is our hope that the voices in the exhibition spark dialogue and create support for restorative alternatives to incarceration."
There are currently 2.7 million children in the United States with a parent incarcerated, according to the Department of Justice. Approximately 10 million American children have experienced parental incarceration at some point in their lives. In California, nearly 1 in 10 of the state's children and youth (856,000) have a parent currently under the supervision of the adult criminal justice system. In San Francisco alone, there are an estimated 18,000 children with a parent behind bars. The incarceration of a parent is associated with a high level of trauma (known as an Adverse Childhood Experience).
In connection with the opening of this exhibit, an organization of young people with incarcerated parents, Project WHAT!, engaged in a year-long research project and developed the following policy recommendations. One of their recommendations, for making visits between children and parents easier, was adopted by San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi this week. Will other counties follow suit?
"Supportive family relationships throughout incarceration not only reduces trauma to children, but is one of the strongest predictors for successful reentry," said Zoe Willmott, manager of Project WHAT!.
San Francisco County District Attorney George Gascon and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley will be honored for their restorative justice work at the June 13 opening, as will the San Francisco Youth Commission.
The Sentence Unseen: Portraits of Resilience will be on display until August 1.
About Community Works and Project WHAT!
Founded in 1997, Community Works interrupts and heals the far-reaching impact of incarceration and violence by empowering individuals, families, and communities. CW's work is guided by the principles of restorative justice and a belief in the power of the arts to educate and heal. CW works closely with the criminal and juvenile justice systems, the public school system, and community-based organizations providing services in the San Francisco Bay Area and across the state. Led by youth who have had a parent incarcerated, Project WHAT! (We're Here and Talking!) is a program of Community Works and was launched in 2006 with the goal of improving services and policies that affect children of incarcerated parents.
This exhibit was made possible by grants from the Walter S. Johnson Foundation; Zellerbach Family Foundation; Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, Akonadi Foundation; SF Department of Children, Youth, & Their Families; Youth Funding Youth Ideas; Youth Empowerment Fund; Five Bridges Foundation; Sills Family Foundation; National Endowment of the Arts; Google; SFUSD; and SF Supervisor Malia Cohen.
SOURCE Community Works
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