Helping Children Understand Incarceration

Did you know that one in forty children in the US has a parent who is incarcerated? That nine percent of the children in California have a parent in the criminal justice system? These children often face confusion, loss, grief, and poor academic performance and need support to understand what “incarceration” truly means to them.

Friends Outside partnered with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to give caregivers the words and ways to open communication about incarceration.




How To Explain Jails and Prisons to Children is an easy to read guide which helps define terms associated with incarceration, addresses emotions, gives resources, and has answers to a child’s commonly asked questions. It is designed to be read by the caregiver and child together.



As an agency who sees the effects of incarceration on families and communities daily, we are passionate about lessening the impact of incarceration on children and their caregivers. If you or someone you know could use this tool, please forward this post or download and distribute as necessary.

For additional insight, check out a similar project sponsored by 4theloveofkids:


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