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Children of Incarcerated Parents

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is committed to facilitating positive interactions between incarcerated parents and their children and improving outcomes for families of incarcerated people. Across the nation, approximately 1.4 million American children have a parent incarcerated in state or federal prison. One out of seven children with a parent who is incarcerated lives in poverty.

At-risk youth enter the justice system at alarming rates. Young people – especially young people of color – who do not finish high school and/or come from high-poverty neighborhoods have a 70 percent lifetime likelihood of being locked up.

We want to break this cycle and reverse the direction of prison-bound children in Pennsylvania.

Outcomes for children of incarcerated parents, research suggests, directly correlate to the quality and quantity of time spent with their parents in prison, and are dependent upon the cultivation of healthy connections within their families.

Virtual Reality and Community Partnerships

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections works closely with community partners to promote healthy relationships between incarcerated parents and their children. The Department is currently engaged in a pilot program that uses virtual reality to connect families while eliminating the need for children to travel to a correctional institution. 

The pilot program is made possible with support from Amachi Pittsburgh and Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) Philadelphia. 

Parents and caregivers in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia area interested in participating in the program and whose loved ones are incarcerated at SCI Muncy, SCI Frackville, SCI Fayette, or SCI Phoenix, should contact Amachi or PHMC, or ask the incarcerated parent to express interest to their unit manager.