Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates
In Kentucky, 13 percent of children have had a parent separated from them due to incarceration – the 2nd highest rate in the nation. Parental incarceration not only causes instability and trauma for children, but also creates a heavy financial burden for the family left behind from loss of income and any accumulating legal fines and fees. Children experiencing parental incarceration need an effective system of justice that will hold their parents accountable and reserve incarceration for those who pose a flight risk or threat to public safety.
This week, the Department of Public Advocacy asked the Supreme Court of Kentucky to establish constitutional rules for pretrial release decisions on behalf of the many Kentuckians who are held in jails as a result of their inability to pay bail. Kentucky Youth Advocates looks forward to a ruling that limits the “money bail” practice so that the parents who are not a threat to public safety can avoid being incarcerated simply because they cannot afford to pay their bail. Those parents could continue to work and care for their children while awaiting trial.
Parental incarceration has been referred to as “shared sentence” due to the short and long-term effects it has on children’s physical health, mental health, and educational achievement. With this petition, Kentucky has an opportunity to minimize the very real impacts of parental incarceration for thousands of kids across the Commonwealth.
About Kentucky Youth Advocates
Kentucky Youth Advocates believes all children deserve to be safe, healthy, and secure. As THE independent voice for Kentucky’s children, we work to ensure policymakers create investments and policies that are good for children. Learn more at www.kyyouth.org.