Children of Prisoners Library            Resources: CPL 901  


   Resources     PDF version


Book List

Children's Bill of Rights

Links to Reference Materials


Incarcerated Fathers Library

Reference and Background Materials


Selected National Agencies


Angel Tree/Angel Tree Camping


PO Box 1550
Merrifield, VA 22116-1550


Provides religious ministry and support to the children and families of prisoners by distributing holiday gifts to children of prisoners and providing a children’s camping program.


Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents

(626) 449-8796

P.O. Box 41-286

Eagle Rock, CA 90041,

Contact: Denise Johnston, Director

Agency Head: Denise Johnston, Director


Provides parent education, self-help support groups, information, referrals, mentoring, family reunification support, family therapy, public education, legal assistance and advocacy. Provides technical assistance, training, policy development and research services in a variety of areas related to children of prisoners.

Children and Family Networks


2034 Henderson Mill Road

Atlanta, GA 30341

Contact: Sandra Barnhill, Managing Consultant

A recent initiative on behalf of children of prisoners and their families.


CURE (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants)
(202) 789-2126
P.O. Box 2310
Washington, DC 20013
Contact: Charles Sullivan, Executive Director
Agency Head: Charles Sullivan, Executive Director
Area Served: USA
Established: 1972

Provides advocacy to bring about prison reform including equitable rates for inmate phone calls. Provides information on reform and rehabilitation to offenders and their families. For a list of CURE's state chapters and affiliates, see the CURE web site at


Family and Corrections Network


32 Oak Grove Road

Palmyra, VA 22963

Contact: Jim Mustin, Executive Director


Provides information, technical assistance and training on families of offenders, children of prisoners, parenting programs for prisoners, prison visiting, and the impact of the justice system on families. FCN’s web site has over 100 articles, an e-mail list, a directory of programs and links to offender family web sites.



Girl Scouts Beyond Bars


4806 Seton Place

Baltimore, MD 21215

Contact: Marina Gethers, Project Coordinator

Provides transportation, parent education, mentoring, group scouting activities and family reunification.

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

100 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Provides training, technical assistance, advocacy and litigation support to legal service offices and to prisoners, their families and advocates throughout California.


Add Your State and  Local Resources Here

 For a state-by-state listing of programs serving families and children of prisoners see the Directory of Programs at








Selected Videos

A Sentence of Their Own, Edgar Barens, 2001, E. Barens, An intense documentary of family struggling with a father’s incarceration.

Champagne and the Talking Eggs, Michael Sporn, Director, VHS, 1997. Cartoon format appropriate for children and adults.

Ulee’s Gold, Victor Nunez, Director, VHS, 1997. Powerful drama for adults.


References & Background Materials

Adalist-Estrin, Ann, “Family Support and Criminal Justice” in Putting Families First: America’s Family Support Movement and the Challenge of Change. Kagan, S.L.and Weissbourd, B.Eds.San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1994.

Adalist-Estrin, Ann and Jim Mustin, Responding to Children and Families of Prisoners: A Community Guide. Family and Corrections Network, 2002,

Cole, David, No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System, The New Press, New York, 1999.

Edenfield, Ann, Family Arrested: How to Survive the Incarceration of a Loved One.  ISBN: 1-58943-060-3.

Fact Sheet: Race and the Drug War, Drug Policy Alliance,, 2002.

Fishman, Susan F. and Alissi, Albert S., “Strengthening Families as Natural Support Systems for Offenders,” Federal Probation, September 1979.

Gabel, Katherine and Johnston, Denise.Eds. (1995) Children of Incarcerated Parents. New York: Lexington Books.

Hirsch, Amy E., Sharon M. Dietrich, Rue Landau, Peter D. Schneider, Irv Ackelsberg, Judith Bernstein-Baker, and Joseph Hohenstein, Every Door Closed: Barriers Facing Parents with Criminal Records, CLASP and Community Legal Services, Inc., of Philadelphia, May 2002.

Jeffries, John M., Menghraj, Suzanne.and Hairston, Creasie Finney. (2001) Serving Incarcerated and Ex-Offender Fathers and Their Families: A Review of the Field, New York: Vera Institute of Justice.

Jucovy, Linda, Amachi: Mentoring Children of Prisoners in Philadelphia, Public/Private Ventures, June 2003,

Mumola, Christopher J., Incarcerated Parents and Their Children, August 2000, NCJ 182335, bjs/abstract/iptc.htm.

National Center On Fathers and Families(NCOFF), Constructing and Coping With Incarceration and Re-Entry: Perspectives From the Field. 2001.

Seymour, Cynthia B and Creasie Finney Hairston. Children with parents in prison: Child welfare policy, program, and practice issues. (2001). Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

The Sentencing Project, Facts About Prisons and Prisoners, 2002, pub1035.pdf.

Travis, Jeremy; Amy Solomon, and Michelle Waul, From Prison to Home: The Dimensions and Consequences of Prisoner Reentry, The Urban Institute, June 2001,


Links to Reference and Background Materials on the web

Bringing Family Literacy to Incarcerated Settings: An Instructional Guide.

Children of Incarcerated Parents Project, Report to the Oregon Legislature, December 2002.

Every Door Closed: Barriers Facing Parents with Criminal Records.

Hope House Resources for Children of Prisoners.

How to Explain Jail and Prison to Children - Oregon DOC Booklet.

Incarcerated Parents and Their Children. Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Incarcerated Parents Materials at Center for Policy Research.

Inmates' Children: Data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and a link to the full study.

Johnston, Denise, Children of Criminal Offenders & Foster Care. Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents,1999.

Nieto, Marcus, In Danger of Falling Through the Cracks: Children of Arrested Parents. April 2002, (CRB 02-009) California Research Bureau report.

Policy Recommendations on Families of Adult Offenders

PROJECT SEEK Program Description and Evaluation.

Serving Incarcerated and Ex-Offender Fathers and Their Families: A Review of the Field

Simmons, Charlene Wear, Ph.D., California Law and the Children of Prisoners (CRB 03-003), February 2003. A California Research Bureau report. PDF file.

Simmons, Charlene Wear, Ph.D., Children of Incarcerated Parents (CRB-v7-n2), March 2000. A California Research Bureau report. Abstract and PDF version (281kb).

Teaching Parenting Skills To Incarcerated Fathers

TIME TOGETHER: A survival guide for families and friends visiting in Canadian federal prisons



BOP – see Federal Bureau of Prisons

caregiver – person in the free world responsible for raising a child of a parent in prison. A caregiver might be the child’s mother, grandmother or other relative. A caregiver might be a family friend or a foster parent.

children's center (prison related) – a program that provides services for children at prison visits

community corrections – a wide variety of programs that allow offenders complete their sentences in the community, instead of in prison. Examples include: halfway houses, probation and parole.  

contraband – things prisoners are not permitted to have, drugs, weapons and many other items

conviction – a record of having been convicted of a crime

correctional facility – a prison

correctional officer – prison staff who wear uniforms and control prisoner’s movements. Prison staff no longer refer to themselves as “guards,” a term that is they consider demeaning. 

count – process of determining if the correct number of prisoners are in the prison. Prisons will stop all movement of prisoners until a count is “clear” or found to be correct.

Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) – a title often used for state agency responsible for operating prisons

Department of Corrections (DOC) – a title often used for state agency responsible for operating prisons

Federal Bureau of Prisons – (BOP) the agency of the Federal government responsible for Federal prisons. There are Federal prisons throughout the United States. These prisons hold people convicted of violating Federal law.

felony -  a serious crime, usually one that can be punished by more than more than one year in prison

frisk – to search a person or location

guard – slang for correctional officer (see above). Prison staff no longer refer to themselves as “guards,” a term that is they consider demeaning. 

health care providers – doctors, nurses, physicians assistants and others who provide health care services

incarceration – the experience of being incarcerated or held in a prison

inmate account – small fund allowing a prisoner to spend funds for candy, and personal items at a prison commissary. These funds are generally earned by the prisoner or given by family or friends.

jail - local (county or city) facilities housing people awaiting trial, serving short sentences or awaiting transfer to a prison

lock down – extended period when prisoners are not allowed out of their cells. Lock downs usually occur when prison administrators want to be sure they have control of all prisoners.

pat search – to search a person by moving hands over the body, feeling for weapons or other contraband

plea bargain – an agreement to plead guilty to a crime in return for a reduced sentence

prison – a place where people are held against their will, usually while waiting for trial or as punishment for a crime

prison visitor center – facilities near prisons that help visitors by providing a place to change clothes, have a snack and talk. Some also provide drop off childcare.

private family visit – program that allows some prisoners to visit with their family in a home-like setting on prison grounds (currently operating in New York, California and Mississippi)

re-entry – the process of leaving prison and resuming life in the outside world


Book List (See to check availability)

- Illustrated books for parents, caregivers and professionals to read with children of prisoners

A Visit to the Big House by Oliver Butterworth. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1993, ISBN #0-395-52805-4.

I Know How You Feel Because This Happened to Me. Center for Children with Incarcerated Parents, Pacific Oaks College and Children's Programs, 714 West California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105.

Just for You - Children with Incarcerated Parents. Center for Children with Incarcerated Parents, Pacific Oaks College and Children's Programs, 714 West California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105.

Mama Loves Me from Away by Pat Brisson, illustrated by Laurie Caple. Boyds Mills Press, 815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431, , 2004, ISBN# 1-56397-966-7.

My Mother and I Are Growing Stronger by Inez Maury. New Seed Press, PO Box 9488, Berkeley, CA 947099, ISBN# 0-938678-06-X.

Two in Every Hundred: a special workbook for children with a parent in prison Reconciliation, 702 51st Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37209, (615) 292-6371.

When Andy's Father Went to Prison by Martha Whitmore Hickman. Albert Whitman and Company, 5747 Howard Street, Niles, IL 606487-4012, ISBN #0-8075-8874-1.


- A novel for 10-14 year olds:

The Same Stuff as Stars by Katherine Paterson, Clarion Books, NY, 2002, ISBN 0-618-24744-0.


About the Children of Prisoners Library (CPL)
Pamphlets may be downloaded without charge from the Family and Corrections Network (FCN) web site, Duplication is permitted and encouraged, so long as the materials are not altered or sold. Sorry, FCN is not budgeted to mail free copies. Send comments to The Children of Prisoners Library at FCN, 32 Oak Grove Road, Palmyra, VA 22963, 434/589-3036, 434/589-6520 Fax, Copyright Family and Corrections Network, 2003.

In Appreciation
The Children of Prisoners Library is supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnston Foundation with additional support from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the Jack DeLoss Taylor Charitable Trust and the Heidtke Foundation. We are also grateful to our sponsoring organizations: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.-Southern Region, Children and Family Networks, Hour Children, The National  Practitioners Network for Fathers and Families and The Osborne Association. Special thanks to the Osborne Association for permission to revise and publish material from the three volume set of pamphlets, How Can I Help?

The Children of Prisoners Library was written by Ann Adalist-Estrin, who adapted material from How Can I Help and authored other materials in the Children of Prisoners Library.  It was edited and published by Jim Mustin.