THE MISSING PROJECT TOOLKIT

The Missing is a public art/consciousness-raising/community engagement project to focus public attention on the epidemic of mass/hyper incarceration. There are two primary goals of this project:

  1. To reduce the shame of families and others who have a loved one who is incarcerated by finding a public way to embrace them and also encouraging them to bring stories of their incarcerated loved one into the public square.

  2. To encourage people to focus their eyes, ears, and spirits on the problem of mass/hyper incarceration.

This resource elaborates that “[b]ecause we believe that prisons tear apart families, misuse public resources, and destroy the potential of so many members of our society, it is vital for us to draw on our collective creativity and to engage our communities to explore alternatives to the present-day prison industrial complex.”

The toolkit includes any activities, such as:

  • Community Dialogue & Discussion Project Ideas

  • Letter Writing Party

  • “Saving A Seat”: A Public Art Installation

  • Photography Project: “Making the Missing Visible”

  • Writing Workshop: “Writing the Missing into Visibility”

 

WEBSITES FOR CHILDREN WITH INCARCERATED LOVED ONES

Child Welfare Information Gateway: Children with Incarcerated Parents   

FindYouthInfo.gov - Children of Incarcerated Parents Webpage and Resources
This webpage from FindYouthInfo.gov highlights the topic of children of incarcerated parents. It provides a variety of resources on this topic, including feature articles, publications, information on T/TA Network resource centers, tools and guides, and websites.

SFCIPP Resource List
Here you will find guides, handbooks, films, reports, curricula and more – resources that will help you navigate the experiences of parental incarceration, whether you are a child of an incarcerated parent, a currently or formerly incarcerated parent, a family member, a caregiver, a professional whose work calls on you to help or simply a concerned member of the community. 

National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated
The National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated became a part of the Rutgers University–Camden campus in October 2013. NRCCFI began as the Family and Corrections Network (FCN), founded by Jim Mustin in 1983 as the first national organization in the United States focused on families of the incarcerated. In 2006, the Federal Resource Center on Children of Prisoners merged with FCN to create NRCCFI.

The National Institute of Corrections Children of Incarcerated Parents Project

Out of the Mouths of Babes: Ten Questions Often Asked by Children Whose Parents Are In Prison:

Sesame Street Incarceration Toolkit

Top Ten Things You Should Know: Kids with an Incarcerated Parent

BOOKS FOR PARENTS, CAREGIVERS AND PROFESSIONALS TO READ WITH CHILDREN

A Visit to the Big House 
By Oliver Butterworth. Grades K-3.
Two young siblings and their mother go to visit their father, who is in prison for stealing. At first Rose worries that once she's in the prison, the guards won't let her out, while Willy worries that his father is a "bad man."
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1993. 

The Princess Who Went Quiet
This is a beautiful children’s book by artist Bianca Diaz that uses storytelling to discuss the impact of incarceration on communities. 

Far Apart, Close in Heart: Being a Family when a Loved One is Incarcerated
By Becky Birtha. Ages 4-8.
Children can experience many emotions when a parent is in jail or prison. They may be angry, sad, lonely, or scared. Sometimes friends act differently toward them. Sometimes the children begin acting differently too. In this book, young readers will learn that even when it feels like nothing can get better again, there are ways they can improve their circumstances. Sending letters, talking to a trusted grown-up about their feelings, and even visiting a parent in jail or prison can help keep a parent close in their hearts.
2017.

Kofi’s Mom
By Richard Dyches. Ages 3-6 years.
Kofi's Mom is a story about Kofi whose mother is sent to prison. It explores his feelings of loss and confusion. Through friends at school, Kofi begins to talk about his mom and to look forward to her return.
2010.

Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me
By Daniel Beaty, illustrated by Bryan Collier.
A father and son share a special bond and then one day dad does not come home and no one talks about it. Later, son receives a letter from dad. Their special relationship continues.
A Coretta Scott King Award Winner book.
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 2013.

My Daddy’s in Jail
By Janet Bender
Provides resources, including stories, small group counseling activities, and a discussion guide for helping children cope with the incarceration of a parent or loved one.
2003

The Night Dad Went to Jail
By Melissa Higgins. Age 5-8.
When someone you love goes to jail, you might feel lost, scared, and even mad. What do you do? No matter who your loved one is, this story can help you through the tough times.
2014.

Visiting Day
By Jacqueline Woodson. Ages 4-8
A young girl and her grandmother make the long bus trip every month to visit the girl’s father in prison. On the ride they share food and hope and give comfort to others who make the trip with them.
Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1st edition (October 1, 2002)

When Andy’s Father Went to Prison
By Martha Whitmore Hickman. Ages 9-12.
his book illustrates the experience of a young boy whose father went to prison, including his life at home and at school.
Publisher: Albert Whitman Pub. Date: June 1990

When Dad Was Away
By Karin Littlewood. Ages 3-5.
When Mum tells Milly that Dad has been sent to prison, Milly feels angry and confused. She can't believe her dad won't be at home to read her stories and make her laugh. But soon Mum takes Milly and her brother Sam to visit Dad in prison, and a week later a special package arrives at home - a cd of Milly's favorite animal stories, read especially for her by Dad. At Christmas the family goes to a party at the prison, and in the spring there's an even better surprise for Milly and Sam.
February 2013

Breaking Out
By Barthe DeClements. Grades 5-8.
Life isn't getting any easier for Jerry- his father is back in prison and his mother has married a difficult man. But at least he has one good friend- Grace, a preacher's kid with problems of her own.
Publisher: Demco Media; Reprint edition (August 1993)

An Inmate’s Daughter
By Jan Walker with Illustrations by Herb Leonhard.
Raven Publishing, 2006.

Ruby on the Outside
By Nora Raleigh Baskin. Ages 6-9.
Eleven- year-old Ruby Danes is about to start middle school and only her aunt knows her deepest, darkest, most secret secret: her mother is in prison.
June 2015.

The Same Stuff as Stars
By Katherine Paterson. Grades 5-8.
Angel Morgan's family is falling apart. Her daddy is in jail, and her mother has abandoned Angel and her little brother, Bernie, at their great-grandmother's crumbling Vermont farmhouse.
Publisher: Harper Trophy (April 13, 2004)

FILMS

A Sentence of Their Own
Film chronicles one family’s annual pilgrimage to a New Hampshire State Prison and reveals the damaging impact incarceration has on families. 

Echoes of Incarceration
A youth-produced documentary project focusing on impact of the prison system on children.

Prison Lullabies, 2003
Odile Isralson and Lina Matta. Film about women who gave birth in prison.

Shadows, 2008
Rachel Libert. Film by Tova: Artistic Project for Social Change
A powerful training film, bringing the voices and realities of children with incarcerated parents, their caregivers and their incarcerated parents out of the shadows of anger and pain and into the light of healing and forgiveness. A must see for anyone working with incarcerated fathers, their children and their caregivers.

Troop 1500, 2006
Ellen Spiro.
Their mothers have been convicted of various crimes, but the Girl Scouts of Troop 1500 want to be doctors, social workers and marine biologists. Troop 1500 is their story-and that of their mothers-trying to hold together their families from behind the walls.

When the Bough Breaks
Jill Evans-Petzall
A documentary about three Missouri families whose children are bounced between social workers, foster parents, grandparents and visits with their moms in prison.