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Children of imprisoned parents get Oregon bill of rights []


"The first state law of its kind..." reads the article! A big thanks to Oregon law makers for pioneering law supporting the rights of children of incarcerated parents. On Tuesday September 19th, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law a bill of rights for Oregon's children requiring the Oregon Department of Corrections to develop and sustain policies and procedures supporting the needs of families, and protecting the rights of children, when parents are incarcerated. This legislation is one of many passed by the Oregon legislature in June 2017 related to a more family-centered approach to Oregon’s correctional population.

The goal of this particular piece of legislation was also the subject of a film, Mothering Inside by Portland filmmaker Brian Lindstrom, featuring the work of the Family Preservation Project. This program, run by the Greater Portland YWCA, “promotes individual and system level change to reduce the collateral consequences of parental incarceration…”

Gov. Kate Brown signed a “bill of rights” for the children of parents serving prison sentences into law on Tuesday, Sept. 19, making Oregon the first state in the country to have such a law. 

Advocates hope that by establishing a bill of rights for the children of incarcerated parents, Oregon’s state agencies – human services and the criminal justice and foster care systems, especially – will create policies that reduce trauma experienced by children and allow them to maintain stronger ties with their imprisoned parents. 

“We know that a large part of what helps with re-entry is having families that are intact,” Sen. Michael Dembrow (D-Portland), a chief sponsor of the legislation, told Street Roots. “Children of incarcerated parents are victims, as well, of what happens. Their needs are rarely taken into consideration by the courts, by the police.” 

Follow here to read more from Amanda Waldroupe about Oregon’s state law designed to minimize the trauma experienced by children of incarcerated parents.

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