Having a parent behind bars can poorly impact a child’s behavioral, emotional and even physical health. A new community-led research project in Indianapolis seeks to understand that link more clearly.
The research project is a partnership between a community leader Shoshanna Spector, executive director of the Indianapolis Congregational Action Network (IndyCAN), and two academic researchers, Tomlin, who is the director of the Riley Childhood Development Center at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Karen Ruprecht, director of research and practice of Early Learning Indiana.
The study is being funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of its Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program which supports teams of researchers working together with community leaders.
Earlier in June, researchers launched the project in earnest in congregations across the region. A team of volunteers are currently working to identify 1,000 people impacted by the absence of a family members in an initial pass and conduct more in-depth interviews with 250 people about how the absence has harmed the health of the family, especially children.
“In a state where we lock up one in three African American men compared to 1 in 273 whites – we are traumatizing people for generations” Spector says.
The group hopes to present their findings to the Indiana legislature next year.
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