When a parent is put behind bars for any length of time, the ability to repair, or even maintain relationships, with their kids is compromised.
Now, it’s even more complicated.
In-person visits have been suspended for months at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation facilities, and it will stay that way for the foreseeable future.
To make things a little easier, the DOCR partnered with Securus Technologies to give out free communication for incarcerated parents this week.
On a normal day, this communication is available via letters, email, phone calls and even video chat. But that comes at a price, and although $5 for a 20-minute video session might not seem like much, it can be for someone behind bars.
However, during the pandemic, inmates currently get one free monthly video chat, two phone calls and two stamps a week.
“I think we really have to remember that people who are incarcerated are coming back to our communities. Most of them are coming back to our communities. We want to continue to connect them to their children; have healthy relationships while they’re incarcerated so they can continue those relationships when they come back to our communities, ” shared Lea Quam, the Deputy Director of Transitional Planning Services for the North Dakota DOCR.
Quam wasn’t sure how many North Dakota kids are separated from their parents in jail, but that is data that the DOCR and the North Dakota Association of Counties are working to put together.