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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 18, 2019 02:21 PM
From: Representative Donna Bullock and Rep. Morgan Cephas
To: All House members
Subject: Dignity for Incarcerated Women: Phone Calls and Emails
The bond between a parent and their child can be one of the most influential relationships in a child’s life. For non-incarcerated individuals, the ability to talk with a loved one regularly, especially one who can have such a profound impact on you, is often taken for granted. For thousands of inmates in the criminal justice system, it is often hard to stay in contact with their family after incarceration, leading to undue stress for both the inmate and their loved ones.

Research has consistently shown that contact with family members eases an inmate’s transition back into the community and reduces recidivism rates - family members provide both social control and social support, both of which inhibit criminal activity. Furthermore, phone contact with loved ones is viewed as especially vital to inmates who may struggle with writing letters due to a lack of spelling, grammar and other writing skills, while email contact may help both parent and child strengthen these skills.

My legislation would ensure that incarcerated parents are able to speak to their children regularly, regardless of their financial means, by providing them with one free phone call or email per month to each of their children. Maintaining parent-child relationships is vital to combating the risk factors faced by children of incarcerated parents, such as academic failure, behavioral problems or truancy issues. This phone call or email would allow parents to have much needed one-on-one contact with each of their children, helping both parent and child continue to create that important bond.

As legislators, it is our duty to support incarcerated parents and their children to the best of our ability. By assisting in maintaining the relationship between parent and child through free monthly contact, we will be helping ease the worries of incarcerated parents and their children throughout Pennsylvania. Please join me in protecting and helping incarcerated parents continue to build rewarding and fulfilling relationships with their children.

Introduced as HB1007