An estimated 2.3 million children in the United States have a parent in prison-children whose lives are filled with a unique kind of instability and uncertainty.
These children are themselves victims of their parents' crimes, members of a neglected segment of our population who are potentially damaged by stigma and shame and who are at risk of being pulled into a vicious cycle of future criminality and deviant social behavior. Such children are child prisoners-kids who must learn to understand living and loving through bars.
In Loving Through Bars: Children with Parents in Prison, Cynthia Martone offers a searing and poignant view of these unfortunate kids, presenting their particular plights through a series of stories.
Among the people readers will meet are a little girl who chats with murderers at Attica Prison while visiting her father, the recently released prisoner who has seven children by five different mothers, and the second-grader whose dad regularly calls him from jail and encourages him to put a pillow over his mother's head at night in order to kill her.
Written by an experienced public school administrator-Martone has been awarded the Outstanding Educator Award for the State of New York-this examination of the instability and uncertainty that plague children of prisoners chronicles their attempts to cope and presents a possible starting place for societal response.