One in every 28 U.S. children—or 2.7 million—has a parent behind bars and 23% of students with incarcerated parents are expelled from school, compared to 4% for the general population.
About the Project
For many, the justice system is a one-way street, where loved ones are locked away, serving time in isolation without outlets to express their emotions, offer regrets, or make amends to the communities and families they have harmed.
Family Interrupted sparks a dialogue around the impact of incarceration on families and the community at large through the mural-making process. We transformed a wall on Dauphin Street in North Philadelphia, creating a work designed by muralist Eric Okdeh, with input from inmates, probationers, and ex-inmates, including the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, Philadelphia Prison System, adjudicated youth, and community and family members.
Colorfully painted mailboxes were placed in pre-selected locations in affected neighborhoods and visiting rooms of prisons and juvenile facilities. The mailboxes contained practical information about the impact of incarceration on families and communities, and gave people the opportunity to send messages from inmates, community members, policymakers, and others. These messages were used in the mural and on the project’s website.